KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 ― Profit-taking and cautious trading ahead of the release of the United States Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes continued to weigh on Bursa Malaysia's performance, with all sectors slipping into the red zone at mid-day.

At 12.30pm, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) slid by 5.84 points to 1,549.75 compared with yesterday's closing of 1,555.59.

The benchmark index opened 1.49 points lower at 1,554.10 and moved between 1,547.49 and 1,554.95 throughout the morning trading session.

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The market breadth was negative with losers surpassing gainers 583 to 314, while 432 counters were unchanged, 968 untraded and 11 others suspended.

Turnover amounted to 1.97 billion units worth RM1.24 billion.

Wall Street turned bearish overnight due to high valuation concerns and the widely expected delay in the interest rate cut.

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Meanwhile, the FOMC meeting tonight will shed light on inflation measures.

Back home, UOB Kay Hian Wealth Advisors head of wealth research and advisory, designated portfolio manager, Mohd Sedek Jantan said domestic fundamentals -- led by the energy and plantation sectors -- remained solid despite the drop in Bursa Malaysia’s main index.

He said technology counters also felt some pressure ahead of Nvidia's fourth-quarter earnings release later today.

“Nvidia’s results have become the most important report for this reporting period. They are both a sign of the overall economic health and the ‘canary in the coal mine’ for the artificial intelligence boom," he noted.

At the same time, regional markets were mixed, offering limited leads to the local market.

The Nikkei Index fell 0.42 per cent to 38,202.33 and the Straits Times Index slipped 0.30 per cent to 3,234.40, while the Hang Seng Index jumped to a seven-week high on China's pledge for market intervention.

On Bursa Malaysia, index-linked heavyweight CelcomDigi lost 10 sen to RM4.27, followed by Axiata which slipped nine sen to RM2.80 and Tenaga Nasional which slid 12 sen to RM11.24.

Petronas Chemicals reduced six sen to RM7.03, while Maybank was one sen easier at RM9.50.

As for the actives, Hong Seng increased half-a-sen to 2.5 sen, while MMAG and SC Estate Builder were flat at 11 sen and 1.0 sen, respectively.

Dialog and Ekovst contracted one sen each to RM2.19 and 50.5 sen, respectively.

On the index board, the FBM Emas Index lost 38.92 points to 11,510.29, the FBMT 100 Index shed 35.10 points to 11,163.52, the FBM Emas Shariah Index eased 61.37 points to 11,564.56, the FBM 70 Index slid 20.16 points to 15,525.71, and the FBM ACE Index decreased 59.30 points to 4,821.30.

Sector-wise, the Financial Services Index slipped 0.82 of-a-point to 17,353.39, the Plantation Index gave up 18.40 points to 7,324.96, the Energy Index was 5.44 points lower at 941.51, and the Industrial Products and Services Index trimmed 0.61 of-a-point to 177.19, while the Properties Index lost 8.15 points to 928.75. ― Bernama