Marketmind: Markets crackle after JOLT from the blue

An employee stocks fruit at a specialty grocery store in Sydney

By Jamie McGeever

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

A substantial softening of the near-term U.S. interest rate outlook following a U.S. jobs indicator on Tuesday sparked a rally in stocks and other risk assets that should pave the way for a strong start to Asian market trading on Wednesday.

Australian inflation, Japanese consumer confidence and German inflation figures later in the day are the main data points on Wednesday's economic calendar that could move Asian markets, which have started the week on a roll.

A series of measures from China aimed at boosting domestic stock markets have had an immediate effect - China's benchmark index of blue chip stocks on Tuesday posted back-to-back gains of 1% or more for the first time since January.

Risk appetite was fueled further after the 'JOLTS' measure of U.S. job openings slumped to its lowest since March 2021. Money markets quickly swiped off the table expectations of another rate hike this year, short-dated yields plunged and stocks boomed.

The Nasdaq rose for a third straight day for its biggest gain in a month, the S&P 500 moved to within 2.5% of this year's peak and the MSCI World index had its best day since June 2.

Cryptocurrencies, meanwhile, made a roaring comeback on Tuesday after a U.S. court ruled that the Securities and Exchange Commission should have approved an application from Grayscale Investments to create a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund.

The landmark victory for Grayscale, which could pave the way for the first product of its kind, triggered a 7% surge in benchmark cryptocurrency bitcoin, its biggest rise since March.

Put all that together and there is every reason to believe Asian markets will open in the green on Wednesday. How long that lasts, however, remains to be seen.

Investors won't need reminding of the reasons why foreigners have been net sellers of Chinese stocks via Stock Connect in 15 out of the last 17 trading sessions, and why disillusioned domestic investors are seeking exposure to overseas assets.

Speaking to reporters during her four-day visit to China, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Tuesday that U.S. companies complain to her that China has become "uninvestible because it is too risky."

On the earnings front, some major Chinese companies, including Bank of China, ICBC and Country Garden, publish their latest results on Wednesday.

On the regional data front, Australian inflation is expected to have eased in July to 5.2%, its lowest in a year and a half. Incoming central bank chief Michele Bullock warned on Tuesday that inflation is still too high and rates may need to be raised again.

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

- Australia CPI inflation (July)

- Japan consumer confidence (August)

- Germany CPI inflation (August)

(By Jamie McGeever; Editing by Josie Kao)