At 5pm, the FBM KLCI was down 9.1 points or 0.55% to 1,633.44. Turnover was 1.99 billion shares valued at RM2.09bil. There were 222 gainers, 681 losers and 305 stocks unchanged.
Petronas Chemicals came under selling pressure after analysts expressed concerned about the recent rally in its share price ahead of its fundamentals. The run-up in Petronas Chemicals had also given a lift to refiners Petron Malaysia and Shell Refining, which had since ended abruptly.
The ringgit weakened against the US dollar to 4.3905 from 4.3772 but firmed up to 6.3270 to the pound sterling from 6.3284 and steadier against the Singapore unit at 3.0496 from 3.0551.
The losses on Bursa Malaysia also mirrored the weaker key Asian markets with analysts saying the sentiment was impacted by China and global economy, weaker ringgit and plunge in crude oil prices.
Asian share markets weakened across the board on Thursday, hit by steep losses on Wall Street overnight as a rout in oil prices heightened worries about the global economy, Reuters reported.
China's main stock indexes, however, reversed direction in the afternoon session, pulling the Shanghai Composite Index back over the 3,000 mark to end up 2%, while the CSI300 index closed up 2.1%.
The indexes have lost 14%-15% so far in 2016 and are not far from their 2015 lows, chalked up during August after losing more than 40% in 11 weeks.
Jakarta's Composite Index ended 0.53% lower at 4,513.18 but off the day's low as Indonesian police shot dead four suspected militants who were part of a bomb and gun attack in the capital.
At Bursa Malaysia, Petronas Chemicals fell 46 sen to RM6.98 and erased 6.11 points. It was actively traded with 21.72 million shares done.
KAF Research downgraded Petronas Chemicals to a Sell from Hold with a revised target price of RM6.50 from RM6.30.
“The stark divergence between Petronas Chemicals’ share price and chemical prices over the past few months, coupled with valuations that are near their historical highs, compel us to turn cautious on the stock,” it said.
Petronas Gas lost eight sen to RM21.60 and Petronas was flat at RM24. SapuraKencana lost two sen to RM1.74. MISC fell 13 sen to RM8.90.
Petron fell 30 sen to RM6.40 and Shell 14 sen lower at RM5.67.
US light crude oil rose 29 cents to US$30.77 and Brent 25 cents higher at US$30.56. Brent had briefly fallen below US$30 earlier.
Crude palm oil for third-month delivery fell RM5 to RM2,406. KL Kepong and PPB Group fell 26 sen each to RM22.60 and RM15.72 while IOI Corp shed two sen to RM4.32 but Sime gained two sen to RM7.30.
Glove makers Top Glove and Kossan fell, with Top Glove reversing to fall 28 sen to RM13.62 after the recent run-up while Kossan was down 21 sen to RM8.49.
As for banks, RHB Cap lost 12 sen to RM5.25, CIMB seven sen to RM4.04, Hong Leong Bank four sen to RM13.04 while Public Bank and AmBank were flat at RM18.24 and RM4.40 but Maybank was up one sen to RM8.35.
Chip maker MPI lost 45 sen to RM9.57, Inari-WA and Sam Engineering 20 sen lower at RM3.30 and RM7.10.
Investors sought safety in food-based QL Resources and Cocoland. QL added 28 sen to RM4.59 and Cocoland 23 sen to RM2.34.
Tenaga added four sen toRM13.06 but UMW fell 16 sen to RM7.21.
Among the key regional markets,
Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 2.68% to 17,240.95;
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.59% to 19,817.41;
CSI 300 rebounded 2.08% to 3,221.57;
Shanghai’s Composite Index rose 1.97% to 3,007.65;
Shenzhen Composite jumped 3.81% to 1,859.37;
Hang Seng China Enterprise lost 0.41% to 8,459.63;
Taiwan’s Taiex ended down 1.04% to 7,742.88;
South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.85% to 1,900.01 and
Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 1.93% to 2,644.57
Spot gold fell US$1.71 to US$1,091.88.
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