Major Wall Street indices sank between 2.5% and 3% in overnight trading as investors took Apple's cut in forecast revenue as another sign of the slowing economy.
Meanwhile, data pointing to weak US factory activity in December compounded evidence that the US was following Asia into an economic slowdown.
Japan's Nikkei was hit hard at the open, losing nearly 4% in the first half hour of trading.
Back home, Bursa Malaysia also reacted negatively to the news. At 9.10am, the FBM KLCI was down 5.41 points to 1,670.42. Trading volume was 120.55 million shares valued at RM43.17mil.
"We opine that the index may continue to trend down, given the poor signals from key momentum indicators, but may find support at 1,615 (S1) or 1,600 (S2) next," said Kenanga research in its Friday report.
Most actively traded counters on Bursa were Hubline, Armada and Sanichi, which remained unchanged at the time of writing.
Gainers included Petronas Gas rising 12 sen to RM18.70, Damansara Realty gaining 8.5 sen to 31.5 sen and BIMB climbing five sen to RM3.55.
Leading decliners included Nestle losing 50 sen to RM147, BAT dropping 22 sen to RM36 and Allianz sliding 20 sen to RM13.
Oil markets tracked the slide in equities prices, with US crude dropping 34 cents to US$46.75 a barrel and Brent crude falling 49 cents to US$55.46 a barrel.
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