Tracking Wall Street's steep overnight decline, the local index saw a flurry of selling in the opening minutes of trade before retracing most losses as US President Donald Trump attempted to alleviate investor nerves.
At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was down 4.72 points to 1,596.37. Trading volume was 1.73 billion shares valued at RM1.15bil. There were twice as many losing counters to gainers on the stock exchange, indicating a broad-based decline in investor sentiment.
Most hard-hit stocks on the KLCI included Sime Darby Plantation falling 21 sen to RM4.70, Petronas Gas dropping 17 sen to RM6.51 and MISC sliding 17 sen to RM6.51.
However, there were some bright spots including DIgi rising eight sen to RM4.61, Public Bank gaining 16 sen to RM22.84 and RHB climbing six sen to RM5.78.
Glove manufacturers were also boosted on expected upsides from additional tariffs imposed on Chinese rivals. Hartalega added 16 sen to RM4.79 and Top Glove rose four sen to RM4.71.
Stocks seeing the most investor interest on Bursa Malaysia were Ekovest adding one sen to 85 sen, Bumi Armada gaining 0.5 sen to 19.5 sen and Lambo rising 0.5 sen to 7.5 sen.
Regional stocks suffered a similar fate as the selling pressure accelerated on growing economic headwinds. Trump's alleged optimism and scheduled meeting with China's Xi Jinping at the G20 summit next month offered some salve to investors, mitigating some losses in markets.
The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.4% and the CSI300 dropped 0.2%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index opened after a long weekend to a 1.5% rout.
Japan's Nikkei Index shed 0.8% while South Korea's Kospi Index bucked the trend by gaining 0.2%.
In commodities, oil prices rose on news that Saudi Arabian oil tankers were among those attacked off the coast of United Arab Emirates, casting fears over the security of supply routes.
US crude gained 16 cents to US$61.20 and Brent crude rose 19 cents to US$70.42 a barrel.
The ringgit continued its downtrend against the greenback, falling another 0.15% to 4.1708.It strengthened 0.3% against the pound sterling at 5.4055 and fell 0.1% against the Singapore
We're sorry, this article is unavailable at the moment. If you wish to read this article, kindly contact our Customer Service team at 1-300-88-7827. Thank you for your patience - we're bringing you a new and improved experience soon!
What do you think of this article?