There are two things that look to be near certainties for 2022: COVID-19 will still be problematic for countries around the world, and interest rates will rise. And two stocks that are safe bets to do well because of that are Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM).
Both of their businesses have been performing well this year and could potentially do even better in 2022. Here's why.
This past year has been an exceptionally strong one for Pfizer. The healthcare giant has been banking on strong growth due to its COVID-19 vaccine, which it projects will bring in a whopping $36 billion in revenue for 2021. That's significant when you consider that in 2020, the company's total revenue was $41.9 billion. And with COVID-19 unfortunately not disappearing soon, there's more growth on the horizon. Next year, the company estimates sales from the vaccine will bring in $29 billion.
This is all without taking into account the potential for its COVID-19 pill, which 90 countries are reportedly looking to buy. The pill can be a viable alternative for people who are hesitant about taking the vaccine, as it can reduce the risk of severe COVID by 89%.
Another strong year of COVID-related revenue is sure to make the company's financials look great, again. Pfizer's sales of $57.7 billion through the first nine months of this year are up 91% year over year. And that's even with the company's inflation and immunology segment showing a decline of 3%.
Pfizer is the safest COVID-19 investment out there, as its core business is growing and even in a post-COVID world, the company can be in a tremendous position to expand its horizons. During the past four quarters, the company's free cash flow has totaled more than $29 billion; that's more than double what Pfizer normally brings in on annual basis. All that extra cash could help fund a new acquisition or growth opportunity.
Whether you're looking at Pfizer over the short or long term, the stock looks like a fantastic buy heading into the new year. Year to date, shares of the healthcare stock are up 38%, ahead of the S&P 500's gains of 24%.
Top bank stock JPMorgan also looks like a solid investment for next year. The company has been doing well in 2021 with its stock up more than 31%. In October, the company reported its most recent results (for the period ending Sept. 30) and noted that merger and acquisition activity was at record highs. As a result, the company's investment banking fees totaled $3.3 billion and were up an incredible 50% year over year. However, its total net revenue for the quarter totaled $29.6 billion and showed just a modest 1.3% improvement from the prior-year period.
Still, the company's financials could look even stronger next year as there might be not just one but two interest rate hikes during the year. An increase in interest rates is welcome news for big banks because it means there's more of an opportunity to profit from the difference in the rate at which it loans money versus the rate it pays a depositor.
As the largest bank in the U.S., JPMorgan could stand to benefit the most from a thriving economy in 2022, as the hope is that COVID-19 concerns are finally tucked away into the rear-view mirror. And over the longer term, more rate hikes will likely be coming, making JPMorgan an even better buy if you're looking beyond just next year.