Investors fled risky assets to return to safe havens, sending equities and oil prices sharply lower.
Japan's Nikkei was down 1.2% while South Korea's Kospi shed 0.6%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was also down 0.6% although Chinas benchmark index ended flat despite being the focus of a possible new wave of infections.
At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was down 29.87 points to 1,516.15. Trading volume was 4.92 billion shares valued at RM2.38bil.
Following the morning retreat, the index had breached the support of 1,530 and was looking towards the psychological level of 1,500.
Most sectors on the domestic market pulled lower, incuding banks, oil and gas and even glove makers.
Top Glove dove RM1.08 to RM15.83 as worries that valuations may have been overstretched finally took over. Hartalega dropped 52 sen to RM12.
Meanwhile, Maybank slid nine sen to RM7.82, Public Bank dropped 32 sen to RM16.58, Hong Leong Bank shed 44 sen to RM14.86 and CIMB slipped 16 sen to RM3.65.
Crude oil prices extended its losses as a resurgence of the coronavirus in China would put screeching halt to demand in the world's biggest energy consumer.
Brent crude fell 2.25% to US$37.86 a barrel while US crude dropped 3.1% to US$35.14 a barrel.
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