At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was down 12.32 points to 1,596.03, led by the financial sector as Fitch Ratings said its outlook on banks had turned negative.
"Rating Outlooks have turned Negative for most jurisdictions compared to 2020, reflecting downside risks to our baseline scenario from a potentially sluggish economic recovery, and pressure on sovereign support-driven ratings," it said in its 2021 Global Banks' Outlook Compendium.
Among the leading decliners, Maybank fell eight sen to RM8.23, Hong Leong Bank dropped 22 sen to RM17.88, Public Bank shed 18 sen to RM20.44 and CIMB slipped nine sen to RM4.21
Other counters seen sliding included Tenaga Nasional down 20 sen to RM10.34, Maxis falling eight sen to RM5.07 and Axiata dropping 10 sen to RM3.54.
Energy stocks however received a shot in the arm following the jump in crude oil prices as Saudi Arabia announced it would cut production by an additional one million barrels a day to shore up prices.
The gains however were capped by concerns that the supply reduction meant the major oil producer expected continued sluggish demand over the horizon.
Brent crude rose above US$53 a barrel to its highest level since February, boosting the valuations of oil-and-gas-related stocks.
Bumi Armada, which was one of the top traded stocks of the day, rose 1.5 sen to 36.5 sen. Dayang added three sen to RM1.19, Dialog gained one sen to RM3.36 and Hengyuan Refining climbed 12 sent o RM5.80.
Elsewhere in Asia, equities markets were also pulling back as the vaccine-inspired rally cooled in light of the slow roll-out and rising number of coronavirus infections.
Japan's Nikkei was down 0.3% while South Korea's Kospi stood flat.
China's composite index was down 0.2% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.9%. In Australia, the ASX200 was down 1.2%.
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