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Davos 2022: Highlights from day 1 at the World Economic Forum

Yahoo Finance’s Brian Sozzi joins Yahoo Finance Live from Davos, Switzerland, to discuss key takeaways from the 2022 World Economic Forum (WEF).

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Beginning this hour today though, with growing economic headwinds. A new survey by the National Association for Business Economics projecting the U.S. economy to grow dramatically slower, with the risk of a recession increasing.

The weaker outlook comes as business leaders gather in Davos, Switzerland, warn of a global economic slowdown at the World Economic Forum. And our very own Brian Sozzi is standing by for us in Davos. Brian, what's the mood on the ground there?

BRIAN SOZZI: Hey, Akiko. Well the mood on the ground, at least for me, is interesting, because it's about 70 degrees out here. I'm rocking my nice orange badge here, which gets me into all sorts of places. As Brian Cheung knows very well, because he was in Davos as well, too. The black badge is the real one you want.

But look, I think there are a couple early takeaways from day one at Davos. First thing, a multi-speed recovery. Every conversation that I have talked to, or I've had with leaders here so far on day one at Davos, they're saying business is growing. And they're not necessarily seeing signals of a recession now, but they are seeing a slowdown.

Moments ago I talked to Intel CEO, Pat Gelsinger, he told me he is seeing an economic slowdown, but stopped short of seeing a recession. And then by the same token, I popped in a panel with Marriott CEO, Tony Capuano, talking about how he's going to invest double the amount of capital in Saudi Arabia over the next five years. I don't think you'd be making that investment if we were nearing a recession.

So again, very interesting first day here. And the crowds are here. The News suggests that there is about 2,500 people, the printouts of 2,500 people at this event. It feels like the crowds are coming back. Are there folks not here, that were usual Davos veterans, that are not here?

Of course, Jamie Dimon is one of them. Yeah, he has a big investor day this week. So he is not here. But there are a lot of first timers too, as well, that are returning to Davos for the first time.

Before I came on here, I caught up with Slack CEO, Stewart Butterfield. They are now part of the Salesforce-- ecosystem. This is his first Davos. Told me he was off to go meet a customer. So again, a lot of interesting things going on. First day on Davos, a lot more big panels coming up in the days ahead.

And you really want to keep an eye on, I would say for really tomorrow, that's when Stephane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna. And then also Pfizer CEO, Albert Bourla.

They will be speaking at two different conferences, really at a time where COVID case counts continue to rise. You want to tune into that one as well. And of course Bill Gates also speaking tomorrow as well, about how to prevent the next pandemic.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Hey, Brian. First off, I saw that you were doing some push ups alongside Pat Gelsinger. First of all, who won that push up set?

And then secondly, you mentioned the scale of this going, I think it's a three day event, as opposed to a four day event. Is that the same type of energy you're feeling there as well, kind of a bit of a scaled down version?

BRIAN SOZZI: I'll start with Pat Gelsinger. He did in fact, beat me in the push ups. He's a noted push up guy, very high energy. Banged out about 25 push ups in, I would say, about 30 seconds. I did five. You know, I'm in a tight suit, Brian, as you know you can't move around in these things.

Secondarily, yes, the crowds, while it's good to see them back, they have built throughout the day. And of course, down the promenade as well. All the parties that normally would happen after the presentations into the evening, they are all back. Whether they will be well attended is to be determined. Because the pandemic is still very much out there.

Now we had to take strict testing measures to get in here in Davos. Of course you had to have a test before you left, and uploaded it to the World Economic Forum system.

Also had to take a test here, and had to pass it, of course. And get that negative test to get one of these fancy badges. So there's a lot going on here. But the crowds by and large, are OK, but not like they were back in 2020 when the pandemic was just starting.

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, Brian, enjoy that whether. This is the only time you're ever going to cover Davos without a coat on, right? Because it was delayed.

BRIAN SOZZI: I'm working on my tan, Akiko. I'm tan, I'm feeling great. I really needed this air, I need to get out of the office.

AKIKO FUJITA: We look forward to your coverage all week. Brian Sozzi joining us from the World Economic Forum in Davos.