Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
1. Wall Street looks steady ahead of expected Fed pivot
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on December 13, 2021 in New York City.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images
2. November retail sales’ advance much smaller than estimates
Shoppers at the King of Prussia mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021.
Hannah Beier | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The government said before-the-bell Wednesday that November retail sales rose just 0.3% from the prior month, only about a third of the expected advance. The slowing sales growth came against the backdrop of higher prices and reports of earlier holiday shopping. The October increase was revised slightly higher to a 1.8% increase. Total retails sales from September through November were up 16.2% compared to the same period one year ago.
3. Fed’s anticipated faster taper could pave way for rate hike
Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, speaks during a House Financial Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021.
Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Retail sales are the last major economic report as central bankers on Wednesday head into the final day of their two-day December meeting. The Fed’s expected accelerated tapering could set the stage for its first hike in Covid-era near-zero interest rates. The central bank is also likely to provide a new description of how it views inflation, acknowledging it no longer sees inflation as transitory. The market will also be watching for any hints about when the Fed might start shrinking its $8.7 trillion balance sheet.
4. Biden expected to sign debt ceiling increase ahead of deadline
WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 10: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers closing remarks for the White House’s virtual Summit For Democracy in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on December 10, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images News | Getty Images
House Democrats passed a debt ceiling increase with one Republican vote, sending the measure to President Joe Biden early Wednesday. He’s expected to sign it just hours before the Treasury Department forecasts it would exhaust its tools to pay the government’s bills, an outcome that would upend the U.S. economy. The Senate, also controlled by Democrats, approved the increase to the nation’s borrowing limit along party lines Tuesday afternoon. Once signed, the resolution would raise the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion, probably enough to get through next year’s midterm election.
5. CDC says delta still dominant but omicron spreading quickly
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.
Tami Chappell | Reuters
The Covid omicron variant, first detected in southern Africa about a month ago, now makes up about 3% of cases sequenced in the U.S., according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While delta remains the dominant strain in the U.S., the CDC said that the highly mutated omicron variant is spreading quickly. Responding to a Washington Post report about a possible “massive wave” of omicron infections as soon …….