Forty-nine stocks dropped and 34 gained on the 100-member gauge. March index futures slid 1.6 per cent to 847.50.
Dealers said activity on the bourse was higher in the morning session, boosted by the RM60 billion stimulus package announced by the government yesterday.
However, the market failed to sustain its performance at the close as investors were reluctant to hold fresh positions given the volatility in it,they added.
"The challenging external environment means equity markets will see continued volatility, and blue chips, especially finance and plantation counters succumb to selling pressure," a dealer said.
The dealer also said the depressed market sentiment is likely to limit any upside, adding that the immediate resistance barrier is likely to be at the 800-point level and support at the 850-point tomorrow.
The Finance Index declined 88.35 points to 6,274.1, the Industrial Index rose 2.81 points to 2,059.66 and the Plantation Index fell 20.92 points to 4,375.6.
Of the FTSE-BM Index series, the FBMEmas narrowed 40.44 points to 5,432.09,the FBM30 slipped 46.6 points to 5,425.84, the FBM2BRD was 42.23 points lower at3,874.9 and the FBM-MDQ declined 66.93 points to 2,998.27.
IJM Corp, Malaysia’s third- biggest contruction company, added 1.1 per cent to RM3.66, the highest level since March 2.
Gamuda Bhd rose 1.6 per cent to RM1.90, the most since March 4.
Malaysia’s construction sector was raised to “neutral” from “underweight” by Maybank Investment Bank Bhd because it expects the government to speed up new building projects and award the jobs to a wider group of contractors.
Lafarge Malayan Cement Bhd and YTL Cement Bhd rose after Maybank Investment Bank Bhd upgraded the cement sector to “neutral” from “underweight,” saying Malaysia’s plan to accelerate building projects will lift demand.
Lafarge Malayan, the country’s largest cement maker, climbed 1.1 per cent to RM3.82, the biggest increase since March 2.
YTL Cement added 0.4 per cent to RM2.45, the most since Feberuary 19.
AirAsia Bhd advanced 2.2 per cent to 94 sen, the most since February 23.
Proton Holdings Bhd, Malaysia’s state-owned automaker, advanced 3.2 per cent to RM1.62, the largest increase since February 18, making it the third-best performer on the Composite Index.
The government said it will finance part of a RM5,000 discount on purchases of new Protons when drivers trade in vehicles that are older than 10 years. - Agencies