Bursa falls as economic jitters escalate

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia saw heavy selling pressure on Tuesday as investors cashed out of recent gains amid economic concerns and evidence that global interest rates may continue to climb for longer.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was down 14.45 points to 1,476.02. There were 665 decliners compared with 250 gainers.

Trading volume was 3.54 billion shares valued at RM1.63bil.

Investors continued to sell off blue chips ahead of the fourth-quarter gross domestic product report scheduled to be released on Friday and as the peak corporate earnings period approaches.

IHH Healthcare lost 13 sen to RM5.90, PETRONAS Chemicals dropped 13 sen to RM8.18 and Press Metal fell 10 sen to RM5.26.

Maybank dropped eight sen to RM8.63 while Public Bank shaved three sen to RM4.18, CIMB slid three sen to RM5.63 and Hong Leong Bank fell 16 sen to RM20.32.

Malaysian Airports skidded 15 sen to RM7.03 while British American Tobacco lost 16 sen to RM12.72.

The most active counter on the market however was MyEG, which succumbed to a sell-off on news that the Immigration Department would soon centralise all immigration-related transactions under one national system.

Shares in the e-services provider were routed in morning trade, losing 22.5 sen to 73 sen on the back of 7.74 million shares crossing hands.

Meanwhile, Iris Corp, which developed the Immigration Department's national integrated immigration system (NIISe) rose 4.5 sen to 17 sen with 2.08 million units exchanging hands.

Key Asian market meanwhile recouped recent losses after investors sold-down their holdings on fears the global interest rate hikes were set to continue their current momentum.

Japan's Nikkei was unchanged at 27,681, South Korea's Kospi jumped 2.3% to 2,449 and China's composite index rose 0.3% to 3,249.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.8% to 21,399.

In Australia, the ASX200 dropped 0.5% 7,499 after its central bank raised lending rates by a quarter percentage point and reiterated the need for further increases.

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