KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI slipped to a six-week low in Thursday morning trade as a fresh twist to US-China tensions arose after Huawei's global chief financial officer was arrested in connection with violations of US sanctions on Iran.
Chinese markets fell sharply with the Shanghai Composite Index sliding 1.4% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropping 2.6%.
Sentiment over the global economy is worsening as the US Treasury yield curve remains inverted, sparking worries over a looming recession.
There was no respite for US index futures, which has lost more than US$3tril in the market since late September.
Moving into midday, S&P 500 Index contracts slumped as much as 1.9% from Tuesday’s close, before trading at 2,663.
At 12.30pm, the local benchmark index was 10.63 points lower at 1,677.64. Turnover was 1.16 billion shares values at RM845.29mil. There were 499 decliners versus 194 gainers and 281 counters unchanged.
Tenaga Nasional was the biggest loser on the index, sliding 36 sen to RM13.56, while Sime Darby Plantation dropped 13 sen to RM4.67.
Digi, however, experienced a 16 sen gain to RM4.45, leading the advancers. Maxis rose two sen to RM5.40 and Petronas Chemicals added four sen to RM9.25.
In the spotlight, Astro
was one of the most actively traded stocks in the morning session, rising 10 sen to RM1.39. The pay-TV operator announced positive earnings yesterday in line with analyst expectations.
Among the top gainers, MBM Resource rose 19 sen to RM2.24 and MPI climbed 18 sen to RM10.68.
On the losing end, BAT lost 50 sen to RM37.16, F&N fell 34 sen to RM32.64 and QL Resources dropped 33 sen to RM6.71.
Oil prices tracked global equities lower amid slow trading as investors awaited the outcome of the Opec meeting to be held later today.
WTI crude lost 55 cents to US$52.34 a barrel while Brent crude dropped 50 cents to US$61.06 a barrel.
In currencies, the ringgit slid 0.3% against the greenback to 4.1665. It also weakened 0.3% against the pound sterling at 5.3026 and was slightly lower against the Singapore dollar at 3.0399.