“Japan has receded from the headlines of late but that's about to change. In the next two months, it's expected the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will make a decision on whether to increase Japan's consumption tax from 5% to 8% in April next year. If approved, consumer spending will take a significant hit and given that it accounts for around 60% of GDP, hopes for an economic recovery could be dashed. If the tax hike is delayed on the other hand, rating agencies are likely to downgrade Japanese debt, resulting in increased interest costs - the last thing that the massively indebted country needs. International investors would also lose faith in Japan's turnaround strategy. Either way, it appears a lose-lose situation.
Wednesday, the S&P was down 0.5% to 1685 (rounded).