* Shares of the bad debt manager trade as high as HK$4.20 in gray market
* Strong performance bodes well for debut on Thursday
(Adds analyst comments, details on IPO demand)
HONG KONG, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Shares in China Cinda Asset Management Co Ltd jumped as much as 17.3 percent in gray market trading on Wednesday, as retail investors who missed out on this year's biggest Asia Pacific IPO bought the stock on the eve of its listing.
Strong gray market gains usually point to higher opening prices when the stock officially starts trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Thursday.
"We are expecting Cinda to jump 10-15 percent at least from their IPO price at its debut tomorrow. We will advise clients to take some profit if it jumps 20 percent," said Jackson Wong, Hong Kong-based vice-president for equity sales at Tanrich Securities.
China Cinda, the nation's biggest distressed debt manager, raised $2.5 billion in one of the hottest initial public offerings of the year, giving a much-needed boost to Hong Kong's IPO market.
The IPO was priced at the top of its HK$3.00-3.58 marketing range.
The stock climbed as high as HK$4.20 (54 U.S. cents) in the gray market compared with the IPO price of HK$3.58, according to PhillipMart, the pre-listing trading platform of Phillip Securities in Hong Kong.
At the Bright Smart Securities pre-IPO platform, China Cinda shares changed hands at HK$4.12 each and traded as high as HK$4.13.
China Cinda's IPO was swamped by orders from small investors, with the retail portion generating more than 161 times demand than the shares on offer, a company filing showed on Wednesday. The institutional tranche of the IPO was "significantly oversubscribed", the statement added.
The offering was the largest in the Asia-Pacific region since the $3.6 billion listing by People's Insurance Group of China Co Ltd (PICC) in November 2012.
($1 = 7.7535 Hong Kong dollars)
(Additional reporting by Clement Tan and Denny Thomas; Editing by Miral Fahmy)