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KUALA LUMPUR: The domestic market dove nearly 22 points ahead of the US Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting scheduled for later this evening a investors braced for more aggressive rate hikes.
At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was down 21.99 points to 1,459.29, which takes the index to a fresh recent low. The number of negative counters on the market outweighed the positive 658 to 206.
Trading volume was 1.3 billion shares exchanging hands for RM825.75mil.
Globally, equities prices have been hammered down following the release of the US consumer price index for May, which showed inflation levels had yet to peak.
Hawkish *** ysts have revised higher their expectations for the coming interest rate hike from 50 basis point to 75 basis points as the US central bank scrambles to rein in prices.
In major Asian markets, equities have not been spared as investors flee to the sidelines.
Japan's Nikkei fell 0.9%, South Korea's Kospi flopped 2.15% while Australia's ASX200 skidded 0.9%.
China's markets however were a rare sight as the composite index and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.4% apiece as investors seek out oversold markets with recovery potential amid the turmoil in the US.
Back home, blue chips counters on the retreat included Maybank down four sen to RM8.64, Petronas Chemicals falling 10 sen to RM9.65, Press Metal shaving 15 sne to RM4.83 and Nestle losing RM2.90 to RM132.50.
Top actives included Sapura Energy unchanged at 4.5 sen, MNC down 0.5 sen to 1.5 sen and Unitrade falling 1.5 sen to 28.5 sen.