Three Things to Know & Watch

May 15, 2023

By Bill Hornbarger, Chief Investment Officer
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Three Things to Watch

  • The debt ceiling will be front and center this week as the clock continues to run on a potential default. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has voiced early June as a critical time for the government’s ability to continue to pay its obligations. On Tuesday congressional leaders meet with President Biden on the topic and Secretary Yellen meets with board members of the Bank Policy Institute including the CEOs of JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup later this week.
  • A full plate of economic releases includes retail sales on Tuesday, housing starts on Wednesday, and the leading economic index on Thursday. Retail sales will be closely watched to see if the consumer is still spending money in the face of recession fears and still too high inflation. Housing activity has been hard hit by higher mortgage rates, and the leading index has been lower for twelve consecutive months. Retail sales are expected to be up 0.8%, housing starts slightly lower vs. last month, and the leading index is expected to be lower again.
  • A full calendar of Fed officials will be on the tapes, with multiple appearances/speakers every day but Wednesday. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell joins former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on a panel on Friday morning. The Fed generally seems to be sending the message that a pivot to rate cuts in 2023 is doubtful and the Fed will now be more data dependent in terms of additional potential increases.

Three Things to Know

  • The U.S. national debt currently stands at $31.7 trillion or approximately $94,800 per citizen and $247,800 per taxpayer. (Source: Fox News)
  • Total U.S. consumer debt is at $14.9 trillion. That includes mortgages, auto loans, credit cards and student loans. (Source:
  • More than 191 million Americans have credit cards. The average credit card holder has at least 2.7 cards. The average household credit card debt is $5,315. (Source:

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.