10 things before the opening bell

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Welcome to 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

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1. Metaverse madness has gripped the crypto market. Anything from real estate to high-end fashion is up for grabs in the virtual world. Last week’s sales of virtual land fetched over $US2 ($AU3) million, and a luxury digital mega-yacht just went for an eye-watering $US650,000 ($AU907,789).

And it hasn’t ended there. Another plot of metaverse land has just sold for a record $US4.3 ($AU6) million, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Big corporates are forging into the virtual world too. Some of the world’s big luxury brands are well ahead of the game, with the likes of Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci already selling non-fungible tokens — a sort of digital collector’s item — of anything from virtual dresses to sneakers.

Crypto asset manager Grayscale believes the metaverse could deliver $US1 ($AU1) trillion in annual revenue, and Bank of America says it’s a “massive opportunity.” 

In case you’re wondering, “the metaverse” refers to a range of online 3D virtual environments, where people can play games, build things, socialize, work and even trade and earn crypto assets. Check out play-to-earn platform Axie Infinity, and virtual worlds such as Decentraland and Sandbox.

But playing is a lot more expensive now than it was at the start of the year. Decentraland and Sandbox’s tokens have soared from fractions of a cent to well over $US5 ($AU7), while Axie’s is now over $US140 ($AU196), compared with just $US0.50 ($AU1) in January. 


2. US stock futures have recovered from Tuesday’s Fed-led selloff. Investors are shrugging off a more hawkish note from Jerome Powell and some of the Omicron-related uncertainty. Here’s what is happening in markets.

3. As the Omicron variant rocks markets, some medical stocks are poised to rally. Credit Suisse analyst Matt Miksic said Omicron’s effect on the medical device industry will be much less dire than it was earlier in the pandemic. Here are the five medical device stocks he thinks will outperform the market

4. Earnings on deck: CrowdStrike and Royal Bank of Canada reporting.

5. Bitcoin has doubled in price this year, but its gains lag far behind ether’s. The second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap has surged 530% in 2021. The performance gap of more than 400 percentage points is the widest since 2015

6. A company spent $US4.3 ($AU6) million on a virtual plot of land in the metaverse. Virtual land developer Republic Realm purchased the property from video-game company Atari. It’s the biggest metaverse property sale publicized to date

7. You’ve heard of ConstitutionDAO but what about Big Green DAO? Elon Musk’s brother Kimbal Musk launched the crypto collective to disrupt the world of philanthropy and address food injustice. And Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood is a contributor

8. Adagio Therapeutics extended a rally to over 300% in three days as Omicron emerged. Investors are betting the biotech company’s antiviral drug candidate will offer protection against the variant. Adagio said it expects the drug, ADG20, to be effective

9. Real-estate investor Tony Javier bought and flipped his first house two decades ago. Since then, he’s flipped about 1,000 houses and still owns about 100 rental units. Find out how he leverages TV commercials and gap funding to increase profits.

10. Edward Ryan’s stock-picking advice has grabbed Wall Street’s attention. Ryan, author of “The World’s Simplest Stock Picking Strategy,” says investing is all about personal experiences. Here are his 15 favorite stocks right now.