KUALA LUMPUR: It’s a sea of red on Bursa Malaysia, with over 1,000 counters ended in red as heavy selling bash down blue chips and small-cap stocks.
At 5 pm, the FBM KLCI lost 29.12 points, or 1.95% to 1,464.83, its lowest since November 2020.
Market breadth turned negative as losers overpowered the gainers on a ratio of 1,084-to-138 stocks. Turnover stood at 3.26 billion shares valued at RM2.26bil.
Dealers said the performance of the local bourse today was in line with bearish regional markets as the US inflation raised concerns that the Federal Reserve would continue to tighten policy.
They added that investors would remain cautious ahead of the US Fed’s FOMC interest rate decision this week, although bargain hunting may emerge as well.
A 50 basis point hike is widely expected as policymakers seek to rein in inflation at a time of still-robust business activity growth.
SPI Asset Management managing partner Stephen Innes said global equities are weaker to start the week following another hot US consumer price index (CPI) print on Friday and signs inflation expectations are becoming de-anchored.
He said the Eurozone markets are also back in focus, with the selloff in the periphery bonds continuing.
Adding to the pessimistic risk backdrop are further Covid outbreaks in mainland China with new restrictions imposed on Beijing and Shanghai.
Innes noted that for the last six weeks, the steepness of the US Treasury market supported equity prices; a steeper curve indicated economic growth ahead. That has all changed with Friday's red hot CPI number.
“Since the data, the Treasury curve has inverted, forecasting the Fed will need to be sufficiently aggressive in raising interest rates that will tip the economy into recession -- and that is what's hurting equities,” he added.
Meanwhile, all the 30 KLCI-component stocks ended in the red and all indices on Bursa Malaysia were down.
Leading laggards among the KLCI component stocks were Hong Leong Financial Group, which tumbled 78 sen to RM18.42, Kuala Lumpur Kepong skidded 78 sen to RM24.20 and Petronas Dagangan fell 54 sen to RM20.52.
Among the banks, Maybank eased seven sen to RM8.68, Public Bank fell five sen to RM4.48, CIMB declined 11 sen to RM4.93, RHB Bank lost 11 sen to RM5.79 and Hong Leong Bank shed 22 sen to RM20.58.
On the broader market, Malaysian Pacific Industries tumbled RM1.62 to RM30.32, Batu Kawan shed RM1.30 to RM25.20, F&N lost 78 sen to RM19.72 and Dutch Lady declined 66 sen to RM32.80.
Meanwhile, the ringgit was quoted at 4.4198, down 0.42% against the US dollar.
Brent crude and the US West Intermediate crude (WTI) fell US$1.76 and US$1.95 respectively to US$120.25 and US$118.72 per barrel respectively.