KLCI to trade cautiously as renewed U.S. rate hike worries emerge

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 28): The FBM KLCI is expected to trade cautiously today, taking cue from the oevrnight fall at Wall Street and global markets on renewed worries of a U.S. Federal Reserve rate hite.

The local benchmark index is likely to find it challenging to defend its level above 1,870 points but possibly stay above the 1,860-level.

World stock markets broadly fell and government debt yields rose on Tuesday as traders perceived a greater tightening of U.S. monetary policy than forecast after remarks by the new Federal Reserve chief in testimony before the U.S. Congress, according to Reuters.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell pledged to balance the risk of an overheating economy and the need to keep growth on track in his prepared testimony, but Powell's remark that inflation has strengthened since December sent yields higher and stocks lower, it said.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 162.37 points, or 0.63 percent, to 25,546.9. The S&P 500 lost 21.07 points, or 0.76 percent, to 2,758.53 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 55.93 points, or 0.75 percent, to 7,365.54, said Reuters.

Based on corporate announcements and news flow yesterday, stocks in focus  Wednesday may include the following: Star Media Group Bhd, MMC Corp Bhd, Tropicana Corp Bhd, Genting Bhd, Genting Malaysia Bhd, Sunway Construction Group Bhd, IJM Corp Bhd, Pharmaniaga Bhd, UMW Holdings Bhd, Ekovest Bhd, UEM Sunrise Bhd, S P Setia Bhd, CCM Duopharma Biotech Bhd, AirAsia Bhd and Press Metal Bhd.