KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI extended its decline over morning trade as investors turned to the sidelines ahead of US inflation data, which would inform the Federal Reserve's rate of interest rate hikes.
On the domestic front, the government's caution that Covid cases were on the rise in the country amid the spread of the highly contagious BA.5 strain of the virus, also triggered selling on the market.
At 12.30pm, the key index was down 5.51 point to 1,420.28. There were 526 decliners compared with 252 gainers.
There were 1.59 billion shares exchanging hands valued at RM642.33mil.
On the blue-chip index, Petronas Chemicals slipped 14 sen to RM8.33 and Press Metal dropped 20 sen to RM4.08.,
Plantations were mixed with Sime Darby Plantation down two sen to RM4.05, IOI up five sen to RM3.85 and Kuala Lumpur Kepong rising 18 sen to RM20.80.
Top actives on the market include TWL unchanged at 6.5 sen, Yong Tai down 1.5 sen to 6.5 sen and Metronic rising 2.5 sen to 12 sen.
Meanwhile, Asian markets fell to their lowest in two years as further Covid lockdowns in China increased worries of a slowdown in the economy while inflations fears persisted.
Japan's Nikkei fell 2%, South Korea's Kospi dropped 1.2% and China's composite index dropped 1%.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 1.2% and Australia's ASX200 rose 0.1%.