Marketmind: Biden, Republicans set for debt ceiling face-off

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Marketmind: Biden, Republicans set for debt ceiling face-off
Credit: © Reuters.

(Reuters) - A look at the day ahead in U.S. and global markets from Samuel Indyk.

Another day, another meeting in Washington. President Joe Biden and senior Republicans, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, are to sit down on Tuesday in an attempt to thrash out a deal to raise the debt limit and avoid a catastrophic default.

The mood surrounding the latest talks has perhaps been more optimistic than in previous weeks, which should not be surprising given it's around two weeks until the U.S. runs out of cash to pay its bills.

Investors are clearly nervous about the potential for default. You only have to look at the 1-month Treasury-Bill yield hitting another record high on Tuesday. But they're maybe not as nervous as you might expect.

The benchmark S&P 500 is little changed on the month, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 has even eked out a 1% gain. Futures are pointing to another flat open on Tuesday.

That relative calm has been reflected in the latest Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) fund manager survey for May.

Equity allocations rose to a five-month high, while a vast majority (71%) expect the U.S. to agree on a deal to raise the debt ceiling before the so-called "X-date".

Away from the debt ceiling and the Federal Reserve's data dependency will be tested with the latest retail sales and industrial production figures.

We'll also hear from what seems like every voting member on the FOMC. Mester, Bostic, Barr, Williams, Goolsbee and Logan all have speaking engagements throughout the day.

They follow four regional central bank presidents who spoke on Monday. All seemed to signal they see interest rates staying high given inflation may be slow to improve and an economy showing any signs of weakness.

Investors continue to bet that the central bank will be cutting rates later this year, with around 70 basis points of cuts priced by year-end, due to some combination of recession or a faster-than-expected fall in inflation.

Policymakers don't seem to share that view.

Key developments that should provide more direction to U.S. markets later on Tuesday:

* U.S. President Biden meets top Republicans in Washington on debt ceiling impasse

* U.S. retail sales, industrial production, Canadian CPI

© Reuters. The American flag flies over the U.S. Treasury building, after the U.S. government hit its $31.4 trillion borrowing limit amid a standoff between the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, President Joe Biden and Democratic legislators that could lead to a fiscal crisis in a few months, in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2023.  REUTERS/Jim Bourg

* Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) earnings

* U.S. auctions 52-week Bills

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