KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's FBM KLCI fell to a low of 1,765 in mid-afternoon trade on Thursday as investors were rattled by the plunge in Japan's markets and fall in Hong Kong.
At 2.44pm, it was down 13.30 points to 1,770.58. Turnover was 1.23 billion shares valued at RM1.44bil. There were 134 gainers, 701 losers and 219 counters unchanged.
Bloomberg reported Japan's Topix index tumbled nearly 7%, the most since the aftermath of the March 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster, as financial companies plunged amid rising bond yields. The rout triggered a halt in Nikkei 225 Stock Average futures trading in Osaka.
The Topix fell 6.87% to 1,188.34 and the Nikkei 225 7.32% to 14,483.98 while the Jasdaq lost 5.43% to 92.12.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 2.81% to 2,2607.59
Reuters reported hawkish comments by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and weakness in China's factory activity rattled Asian markets.
While stock prices fell, the US dollar rose to three-year highs, and Japanese government bond yields to their highest in a year.
Reuters reported stock and bond markets took their cue from the drop in U.S. equities and Treasuries after Bernanke's remarks at a Congressional hearing sparked worries of an earlier than expected reduction in U.S. monetary stimulus.
A weak manufacturing survey from China added to concerns about a delayed recovery in the world's second-largest economy and furthered those losses, dragging MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 2.1%.
At Bursa Malaysia, Petronas Gas fell 84 sen to RM20.50 and Petronas Dagangan 22 sen to RM25.30.
KL Kepong slid 50 sen to RM21.20, HLFG 36 sen to RM15.04, HL Bank 22 sen to RM14.08.