KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLI remained in the red at midday as investors brace for the release of US inflation data, which would inform the US Federal Reserve's future interest rate decision.
At 12.30pm, the key index was down 5.32 points to 1,492.35, slipping further below the 1,500 psychological level.
The market was negative with 540 decliners compared with 181 gainers. Trading volume was 1.23 billion shares valed at RM689.16mil.
Investors have also turned jittery ahead of the peak corporate earnings reporting period as US chip makers reported underwhelming results.
The local tech sector retraced some of the gains on expectations that the cost pressures and higher interest rates will take a chunk out of profits.
MPI fell 90 sen to RM31, Vitrox dropped 27 sen to RM7.23 and Pentamaster lost 15 sen to RM3.83.
Meanwhile, glove maker Hartalega dropped 20 sen to RM2.60 following its earnigs announcement yesterday, which sparked earnings downgrades among analysts.
Sector rival Top Glove also fell 2.5 sen to 96 sen.
Of actives, G3 fell 0.5 sne to 3.5 sen, Metronic was unchanged at 5.5 sen and DNeX dropped 2.5 sen to 86.5 sen.
In Asia, major markets moved lower ahead of the US consumer price index announcement. Japan's Nikkei fell 0.75% to 27,790, South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.7% to 2,485 and China's composite index slid 0.4% to 3,235.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng dove 2.1% to 19,588 and Australia's ASX200 slipped 0.3% to 7,011.