Three Things to Know & Watch

Dec 18, 2023

By Bill Hornbarger, Chief Investment Officer
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Three Things to Watch

  • The economic calendar is busy this week with the highlight coming on Friday, when the U.S. Federal Reserve’s (Fed’s) favored inflation measure is released. The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index is expected to be unchanged month-over-month and core PCE (excluding food and energy prices) is expected to gain 0.2%. If these forecasts hold, the year-over-year changes would be 2.8% and 3.3%, respectively, and the six-month annualized inflation rate (core PCE) would be close to 2%, which is the Fed’s stated target for inflation.
  • Plenty of readings on the housing market will be released, including housing starts (-0.9%), existing home sales (9-0.5%) and new home sales (1.3%). Housing starts and new home sales have stabilized while existing home sales continue to decline as the housing market prolongs its struggle in a higher rate environment.
  • Both consumer confidence and consumer sentiment will be released this week and should be slightly better after November’s strong stock market gains and signs that the Fed is at/near the end of its tightening cycle.

Three Things to Know

  • The average home payment for a homebuyer hits a record $3,322/month, according to the Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, the average cost to rent a home is at a record $2,184/month. It is now less affordable than any time in history to buy a home in the U.S. (Source: @KobeissiLetter)
  • The Magnificent Seven (Meta, Tesla, Alphabet, NVIDIA, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple) have a higher weighting in the MSCI World Index than all of the stocks in the United Kingdom, China, France and Japan combined. (@charliebilello)
  • In terms of average holiday spending per person, the winter shopping season is in second place. The holiday shopping season takes the win in total revenue. But, as for average spending per person, the back-to-college period comes out on top. (Source: National Retail Federation)


The above information reflects the current opinion of the author. It is based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward-looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security mentioned.