KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI fell below its 1,600-point support in early trade before retracing its losses as the morning progressed.
At 12.30pm, the index was just half a point lower at 1,603.69. Trading volume was 1.35 billion shares valued at RM1.1bil. There were 600 declining stocks versus 163 gainers and 286 unchanged.
Petronas Chemicals saw the sharpest fall on the FBM KLCI, shaving off off 24 sen to RM8.58.
Notable price action was also seen in Digi gaining five sen to RM4.62 and IHH adding si sen to RM5.36.
's stock came under pressure as it revealed on Tuesday that its subsidiary had defaulted on loan pyaments. The stock plunged 2.5 sen or over a third of its value to 4.5 sen.
Regional markets were shaky on Thursday as fears mounted that the escalating trade conflict between the US and China was picking up pace with technology stocks facing the brunt of Washington's wrath.
Reuters reported that apart from sanctions on Huawei, the US was also taking aim at other Chinese tech companies including Iflytek, Xiamen Meiya Pico Information Co and Beijing Megvii Co.
China's Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.8% while the CSI300 Index dropped 1.2%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 1.3%, Japan's Nikke Index shed 0.6% and SOuth Korea's Kospi Index was flat.
Falling demand for crude oil from oil refineries coupled with surging US production cause prices to fall in Thursday trade.
US crude fell 37 cents to US$61.05 a barrel and Brent crude retreated 46 cents to US$70.53 a barrel.
In currencies, the ringgit was 0.2% lower against the US dollar at 4.1935. It was flat against the pound sterling at 5.3022 and 0.1% lower against the Singapore dollar at 3.0377.