KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI continued its descent over the morning session as investors awaited the release of key US inflation data due out later tonight.
At 12.30pm, the key index was down 8.54 points to 1,417.54. There were 504 decliners compared with 223 gainers. Trading volume was 1.03 billion shares valued at RM602.99mil.
Among the blue chips, the sharpest sell-off was seen in PETRONAS Chemicals, which slumped 28 sen to RM8 amid a tumble in crude oil prices.
Brent crude futures fell below the US$10o a barrel mark overnight and failed to rebound in the morning session amid rising fears of a global recession.
Energy major Tenaga Nasional slid 10 sen to RM7.93, PETRONAS Gas shed 18 sne to RM16.20 and Press Metal fell six sen to RM4.08.,
Banks were also down on the economic worries, with Maybank losing three sen to RM8.61, CIMB sliding three sen to RM5.09 and and Hong Leong Bank dropping six sen to RM20.12.
Among top actives, Infoline Tec was flat at 32 sen, Widad rose 0.5 sen to 27 sen and Metronic was down one sen to seven sen.
Major regional markets however rose cautiously from recent lows.
Japan's Nikkei was up -0.55% to 26,430, South Korea's Kospi added 0.6% to 2,331 and China's composite index gained 0.4% to 3,292.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.6% to 20,974 while Australia's ASX200 rose 0.1%.