Mixed corporate earnings to set the tone at Bursa, KLCI to defend 1,850-level

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 22): The FBM KLCI is likely to brace for investors’ reaction today to the mixed bag of corporate earnings announced Wednesday at Bursa Malaysia Securities, with several key companies reporting weaker results.

Also weighing investors’ sentiment would be the release of the minutes of the US Federal Reserve’s meeting from last month.

However, the FBM KLCI is expected to defend its 1,850-point level.

The dollar index hit a fresh high after briefly turning negative and stocks gave back gains on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve's rate-setting committee, at its last policy meeting, showed more confidence in the need to keep raising interest rates, said Reuters.

Its more upbeat take on inflation in the minutes of the Jan. 30-31 policy meeting will likely further cement expectations that new Fed chief Jerome Powell will lead his colleagues in raising interest rates next month, it said.

Reuters said U.S. stocks closed lower on Wednesday in a rocky session after the release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve's January meeting pushed yields on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note to a four-year high.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 8.17 points, or 0.03 percent, to 24,972.92, the S&P 500 gained 4.39 points, or 0.16 percent, to 2,720.65 and the Nasdaq Composite added 34.99 points, or 0.48 percent, to 7,269.30, it said.

Based on corporate announcements and news flow yesterday, companies in focus today may include: MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd, Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd, Malakoff Corp Bhd, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd, UOA Development Bhd, Eden Inc Bhd, Gopeng Bhd, AirAsia X Bhd, Brahim’s Holdings Bhd, Box-Pak Malaysia Bhd, Al-Aqar Healthcare Real Estate Investment Trust and D&O Green Technologies Bhd.