Marketmind: A familiar pattern - stocks slump, yields spike

Passersby walk past an electric monitor displaying the Japanese yen exchange rate against the U.S. dollar 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 on Thursday are set to open on the defensive, with sentiment battered by one of the biggest selloffs of the year in U.S. tech stocks and a renewed spike in longer-dated U.S. Treasury bond yields the day before.

The regional focus turns to advance third quarter South Korean GDP figures, unemployment and industrial production data from Singapore, and Reserve Bank of Australia governor Michele Bullock's Senate testimony.

The fog of uncertainty descended further over China's embattled property sector after it was reported on Wednesday that China's largest private lender Country Garden has defaulted on a U.S. dollar bond for the first time.

There's little sign of the pressure on Japan's bonds and currency easing either, after the yen briefly slipped below 150.00 per dollar again on Wednesday and the 10-year Japanese bond yield hit a fresh decade-high above 0.87%.

But the broader tone in Asia on Thursday will be set by another decline in U.S. stocks and bonds.

The Nasdaq's 2.4% slide on Wednesday was driven by a 9.5% plunge in Google-parent Alphabet's shares after its cloud division missed revenue estimates, raising doubts over the artificial intelligence boom that is supposed to drive the global economy forward in the coming years and decades.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield, meanwhile, appears poised to make another attempt on 5.0% after leaping 10 basis points.

Financial conditions tightened quite sharply on Wednesday.

The global market moves represented a familiar pattern since the flare-up in Middle East violence nearly three weeks ago - higher bond yields, a 'bear steepening' of the U.S. yield curve, a stronger dollar, and higher oil and gold prices.

Gold has risen almost 10% since Oct. 7 and has $2,000/oz in its sights. Bitcoin, meanwhile, rose for a seventh consecutive session on Wednesday, during which time it has appreciated almost 25%.

The main Asian data point on Thursday will be South Korean GDP. Growth is expected to have slowed to 0.5% quarter-on-quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis from 0.6% in the April-June period, as high borrowing costs weighed on consumer spending and exports recovered at a slow pace.

Year-on-year growth is expected to have picked up to 1.1% from 0.9%.

Australia's central bank chief Bullock's testimony to parliament will be closely watched too, after surprisingly strong inflation figures on Wednesday appeared to increase the likelihood that interest rates could be raised again, as early as next month.

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

- South Korea GDP (Q3)

- RBA governor Bullock speaks

- European Central Bank policy meeting

(By Jamie McGeever; Editing by Josie Kao)