There was brief respite at mid-morning as the index moved into positive territory but another sharp drop took it to hover around the 1,720 level by midday.
Asian markets were mostly up after a shaky start as Wall Street had dipped overnight on concerns a proposed US tax cut may be derailed.
Back home, the KLCI dropped 2.05 points to 1,720.94 points. Turnover was 1.23 billion shares with a value of RM888.53mil. There were 458 decliners versus 159 advancers and 504 counters unchanged.
Sime Darby took off 0.8930 points from the index as it fell eight sen to RM8.92. Other leading decliners included Genting, which dropped five sen to RM8.95 and Genting Malaysia, which slipped three sen to RM4.97.
Meanwhile, Digi dropped six sen to RM4.66 while IHH Healthcare fell four sen to RM5.60.
Gainers on the KLCI included Petronas counters; Petronas Gas rose 18 sen to RM17.06, Petronas Dagangan gained 24 sen to RM23.32 and Petronas Chemicals which added five sen to RM7.30.
Public Bank gained six sen to RM20.48 while Maybank rose two sen to RM9.23.
Other banks didn’t fare as well; Ambank dropped one sen to RM4.34, Hong Leong Bank declined two sen to RM15.88, CIMB slipped one sen to RM5.99 and RHB fell two sen to RM4.76.
On the wider market, Kossan Industires was a top gainer, rising 45 sen to RM8.02. PMB Technology gained 32 sen to RM4.15, while Hengyuan rose 10 sen to RM10.10.
AMong the laggards, Geshen fell 28 sen to RM2.02, Heineken Malaysia dropped 22 sen to RM17.96 and APM Automotive slipped 13 sen to RM3.55.
Oil saw slight upwards movement as expectations of an extension to Opec production cuts at the end of the month kept an upbeat sentiment.
US light crude was four cents higher at US$55.37 a barrel while Brent crude rose 12 cent sto US$61.99 a barrel.
In currencies, the ringgit slipped 0.11% against the US dollat at 4.1790. It strengthened 0.21% against the pound sterling at 5.5049 and stayed little changed against the Singapore dollar at 3.0797.