KUALA LUMPUR: The local stock exchange remained deep in the red at midday although it had recovered some losses following a sharp selldown that sent the FBM KLCI to a three-month low.
The FBM KLCI has seen accelerated selling pressure over the last two days, closing 39 points or 2.2% lower in the previous session on tax fears as the Pakatan Harapan government sought to decrease the national debt.
The continued slide on Thursday was sparked off by a steep decline in US equities overnight as fears over rising interest rates and a rout in technology stocks sent the Dow Jones plunging over 800 points or 3.15%.
Tracking Wall Street, Asian markets also succumbed to the selling pressure with all key regional indices falling over 3%.
At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was down 35.26 points to 1,699.92 as investors pared losses of as much as 53 points earlier in the day. Trading volume was 1.77 billion shares valued at RM1.72bil. Declining stocks overwhelmed advancers 924 to 119 while 215 remained unchanged.
Tenaga Nasional led the decline with a 62 sen drop to RM14.06 while IHH Healthcare dropped 26 sen to RM4.99.
Banks also weighed as Maybank skidded 28 sen to RM9.23, CIMB lost 19 sen to RM5.65, Hong Leong Bank gave up 40 sen to RM20.16, Public Bank slipped 14 sen to RM24.84 and RHB fell nione sen to RM5.12.
Among telcos, Digi lost 17 sen to RM4.40 and Maxis fell 14 sen to RM5.43. However, Axiata bucked the trend with a nine sen gain to RM3.94.
Investor interest in Gamuda remained at elevated levels as the stock rebounded on hopes its underground contract for the MRT2 project will be revisited. The counter climbed 27 sen or 13% to RM2.34 on the back of 72.93 million shares traded.
In commodity markets, oil prices also suffered a steep decline to two-week lows as confidence over growth in the global economy continued to weigh. WTI crude fell US$1.24 to US$71.93 a barrel while Brent crude dropped US$1.49 to US$81.60 a barrel.
The ringgit fell slightly against a basket of currencies. It lost 0.2% against the US dollar at 4.1393, 0.2% lower against the Singapore dollar at 3.0078 and 0.8% weaker against the pound sterling at 5.4984.