Next Week’s New Today: Place Your Bets Now

The printing of lots of cheap money appeared to have had the desired effect on consumer spending in Japan last month. According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, retail sales jumped 5% in April. That was a far cry from the 9.7% fall in March. Next week we will get some new data for May.

Sticking with Japan, the Bank of Japan is set to report the closely-watched Tankan index for the second quarter next week. The near-term outlook or Tankan by Japan’s large manufacturers has remained largely unchanged at around 12 for the last four quarters.

Nevertheless, the positive outlook suggests that a balance of Japanese manufacturers feel reasonably confident. That could help explain the rise and rise of Japan’s stock market this year. Since the start of 2015, Lyxor ETF Japan (SGX: CW4) has climbed 12%. By comparison the Straits Times Index (SGX: ^STI) has slipped 1%.

There will be many countries around the world that must be eyeing Indonesia’s inflation rate with envy. In May, the inflation rate was 7.15%. But Indonesia would prefer to see prices rising at a slower rate. Ideally, the central bank of South East Asia’s largest economy would like to cut interest rates. But it can’t while inflation persists.

There could be more signs of America’s on-going recovery when the Autodata Corporation reports Total Vehicle Sales for June. The purchase of durable goods such as automobiles can be a good indicator of consumer confidence. It can also be a sign that consumers are willing to open up their wallets for big-ticket items.

Lest we forget, Greece has to make a €1.6b payment to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday. If it fails to meet the deadline, then it will be deemed to be in default. If the unthinkable should occur then anything could happen. One bookie in London is offering odds of 9/4 that Greece will leave the European Union. But the odds of Greece staying in are 1/3.

And finally, Happy Independence Day, America. Saturday is Independence Day in the US of A. The US market will close at an earlier time of 1pm on Friday.

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