Marketmind: To the moon, boosted by US soft landing hopes

Pedestrians walk past an electronic board displaying Nikkei share average, outside a brokerage in Tokyo

By Jamie McGeever

(Reuters) - A look at the day ahead in Asian markets from Jamie McGeever, financial markets columnist.

Asian markets open on Wednesday with stocks, risk assets and investor sentiment around the world soaring after cooling U.S. inflation data on Tuesday looked to close the door on more rate hikes and pave the way for the fabled economic 'soft landing'.

Some of Tuesday's U.S. market moves were eye-popping - two- and five-year bond yields plunged more than 20 basis points; the Nasdaq rose more than 2%; the Russell 2000 index rose 5% for its best day in a year; the dollar fell 1.5% for its worst day in a year; and the Aussie and New Zealand dollars both leaped 2%.

This should be rocket fuel for Asia on Wednesday, although there is no shortage of event risk.

Top-tier data releases include third quarter Japanese GDP and Chinese retail sales, industrial output, investment and unemployment figures for October, while U.S. and Chinese Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping meet at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in San Francisco.

Biden and Xi have only met once before, and this is Xi's first visit to the U.S. since 2017. Xi is hoping to persuade Biden to ease up on tariffs and export controls aimed at keeping the most advanced semiconductors from being sent to China.

In a separate dinner with business leaders, he will also be looking to boost flagging investment by U.S. firms in China. Foreign investors have pulled huge sums out of China this year as the economy has faltered and tensions with the West have deepened.

Ahead of their talks, China's yuan climbed to a three-month high of 7.25 per dollar on Tuesday, rising around 0.5% for its biggest one-day gain in two months.

The latest retail sales, industrial output, investment and unemployment figures for October will give an insight into whether China's economy is maintaining the surprisingly strong momentum it showed in the third quarter.

Citi's China economic surprises index has been in positive territory for almost a month, suggesting activity is strengthening or analysts are lowering their expectations. Or a bit of both.

Japan's economic surprises index, on the other hand, just slumped into negative territory and is the lowest since June. The first reading of third quarter GDP on Wednesday could lift it again - the bar would appear low enough.

Economists reckon the economy contracted 0.1% from the April-June period and shrank 0.6% on an annualized basis. That would represent a significant slowdown from growth rates of 1.2% and 4.8%, respectively, in the previous quarter.

The corporate focus in Asia on Wednesday turns to the third quarter earnings reports from China's JD.Com and Tencent Holdings. JD.Com is expected to report a 2.3% increase in revenue to CNY249.258 billion and CNY5.77 earnings per share.

Here are key developments that could provide more direction to markets on Wednesday:

- Japan GDP (Q3, preliminary)

- China retail sales, industrial output, investment, unemployment (October)

- Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping meet

(By Jamie McGeever; Editing by)