As the month of November draws to a close and markets await the seasonal "Santa rally", investors will likely be looking out for these in the week ahead:
1. Will Japan data deluge allay economic concerns?
Investors will get a sense of how Japan's economy fared at the start of the fourth quarter when a flurry of data including inflation, household spending, jobs numbers, retail sales and industrial output for the month of October are released on Friday.
This followed shocking data last week which showed third quarter gross domestic product shrinking an annualized 1.6 percent, putting the economy in technical recession. The dismal report card prompted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to delay a second sales tax hike and call a snap election.
Consumer inflation is expected to slow in October, according to Moody's Analytics, further raising doubts over the Bank of Japan's ability to achieve its 2 percent inflation goal by next year. Nationwide core consumer prices, including the sales hike impact, could rise 2.9 percent, a tick lower than 3 percent in September.
Industrial production may fall 0.2 percent in October from the year-ago period, after rising annual rate of 2.7 percent in September, the fastest pace since the beginning of the year. Household spending could decline for a seventh straight month, but the expected fall of 2 percent on-year will be an improvement from September's 5.6 percent tumble.
"The bulk of data will provide insight into Japan's fourth quarter. Unfortunately it is likely to show that the post‐tsunami boost to residential construction has faded, and that a lack of wage growth and concerns about another sales tax hike are deterring consumer spending," analysts from Moody's Analytics wrote in a note.
Meanwhile, investors will also be watching the release of the Bank of Japan's (BOJ) minutes from its October 31 meeting on Tuesday. The central bank surprised markets that day by expanding its already massive stimulus program, pledging to increase monetary base annually by 80 trillion yen, more than 65-75 trillion yen previously.