At the close, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (FBM KLCI) was 0.81 point lower at 1,298.86. It had opened 0.34 point better at 1,300.
The index was unable to hold on to the crucial 1,300 level. Dealers said investors were reluctant to take heavy positions ahead of the outcome of the US Federal Reserve's policy meeting later in the day.
A dealer said most market players expect the US to hold interest rates near zero and keep its promise to maintain rates low for a long time to help support the domestic economy. "However, investors will be looking for clues on future moves to guide markets."
The Finance Index slipped 24.85 points to 11,549.91 and the Plantation Index declined 8.73 points to 6,360.09. The Industrial Index, however, was 14.69 points higher at 2,631.03.
Decliners led advancers by 361 to 290 while 292 counters were unchanged with 402 untraded and 32 others suspended.
The day's turnover was lower at 678.60 million shares worth RM1.06 billion against Monday's 764.55 million shares valued at RM1.10 billion.
Of the heavyweights, Maybank declined 1 sen to RM7.31, CIMB Group fell 12 sen to RM13.56 and Maxis dipped 6 sen to RM5.29 while Sime Darby gained 7 sen to RM8.55.
Among actives, Frontken Corp-Warrants was 5 sen higher at 5.5 sen while Nam Fatt Corp and Berjaya Corp-LC dropped 6.5 sen and 5.5 sen respectively to 12 sen and 98.5 sen.
Turnover on the main market fell to 583.32 million shares valued at RM1.03 billion from 639.74 million shares valued at RM1.05 billion previously.
The ACE Market volume declined to 51.66 million units worth RM12.68 million from the 65.28 million units worth RM20.30 million previously.
Warrants were lower at 23.32 million shares valued at RM3.10 million from 32.18 million units valued at RM5.16 million previously.
Consumer products accounted for 26.24 million shares traded, industrial products 116.65 million, construction 68.14 million, trade and services 205.91 million, technology 34.72 million, infrastructure 9.70 million, finance 47.20 million, hotels 5.39 million, properties 48.28 million, plantations 19.42 million, mining 2,000, REITs 1.59 million and closed/fund 85,500. -- Bernama