KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips on the domestic market slumped on Thursday following the US Federal Reserve's meeting that signalled an earlier-than-expected return to higher interest rates.
The US central bank hinted that it could begin raising lending rates in 2023, a year earlier than most observers had believed, as the country's economic recovery and inflation had begun to take off.
At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was down 7.31 points to 1,571.01, tracking regional markets lower as the prospect of US rate hikes could mean the outflow of funds from riskier assets.
The country's key index was en route to a third straight day of losses amid weak market sentiment owing to the ongoing national lockdown.
Decliners on the broader market outnumbered gainers two to one while most blue-chips on the FBM KLCI were in the red.
Leading laggards included MISC down 17 sen to RM6.94, Press Metal falling six sen to RM4.85 and Petronas Chemicals shedding five sen to RM8.06. Of actives, MMAG was flat at 19 sen, KNM unchanged at 20 sen and Censof up 0.5 sen to 52 sen.
In Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei was down 1.1% and South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.4%. China's main index rose 0.2% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.3%. Australia's ASX200 fell 0.2%.