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KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia continued its downward momentum on Tuesday, tracking Wall Street's sharp decline that sent the S&P500 into bear territory.
At 9.05am, the FBM KLCI was down 10.33 points to 1,454.5, an 18.5-month low. The overall market remained deeply negative with 450 decliners compared with 34 gainers.
The heavy selling across global equities markets comes on the heels of the release of the US consumer price index for May, which showed inflation rising still to 8.6%, defying expectations it had peaked in March.
This will inform the US Federal Reserve's decision at this week's Federal Open Monetary Committee meeting, where the interest rate is expected to be increased by 50 basis points, if not 75, to tame the soaring inflation.
Overnight, the S&P500 was down 3.9%, pushing its losses to more than 20% since a recent record close and confirming a bear market.
The Nasdaq, the worst-hit of the major US indices for its heavy technology weighting, fell a further 4.7%.
Back home, the domestic benchmark had previously plunged below its 52-week low in tandem with regional fears that the surging inflation would drag the economy into a recession.
Adding to the headwinds was news that China was reimposing Covid-19 restrictions just weeks after they were lifted in major cities, sending regional stocks on a sharp retreat.
"We have seen net foreign selling continued to increase (5-day cumulative net foreign selling: RM600.1m).
"Given the significant selloff overnight on Wall Street, we believe there might be another selling wave prior to the US FOMC meeting, eventually impacting the local bourse negatively for the session," said Malacca Securities Research in a report.
While the research firm sees opportunity in accumulating undervalued stocks in certain sectors such as banking, oil and gas and consumer, it noted the technology sector is expected to endure another round of selling.
As expected, most blue chips were in the red on Tuesday morning,
Maybank fell five sen to RM8.63, Petronas Chemicals shed nine sen to RM9.47 and Tenaga Nasional dropped seven sen to RM8.44.
Press Metal was down six sen to RM4.87, Axiata slid five sen to RM2.82 and Petronas Gas slipped 12 sen to RM16.18.
Among actives, Unitrade dropped four sen to 28 sen, DNex shed four sen to 86.5 sen and Yew Lee lost 0.5 sen to 29 sen.