Commodity-related stocks and financials continue to weigh on the Australian share market but the healthcare sector has climbed into the day.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index clawed back some ground but was still down 15 points, or 0.26 per cent, to 5,843.8 by 1200 AEDT on Wednesday, while the broader All Ordinaries was 15.6 points, or 0.26 per cent, lower at 5,908.7.
The Aussie dollar remains subdued amid a souring global economic mood, buying 71.22 US cents from 71.36 US cents on Tuesday.
The heavyweight financial sector dragged the local bourse lower in early trade, but the big four banks have reversed some of their losses to sit mostly flat at noon.
Commonwealth Bank and Westpac edged slightly higher while ANZ was unchanged and NAB slightly lower after a tough morning for the banking sector.
Macquarie Group was still down 0.71 per cent at $115.49 while Challenger Limited was 14.79 per cent lower at $7.865 following a poor first half trading update.
Pinnacle Investment shares dropped 7.37 per cent to $4.65 despite expectations of a 25 per cent half-year profit lift.
IOOF holdings fell 3.84 per cent to $5.51 after repaying super fund members following an accidental sale of assets in 2015.
Energy stocks extended losses after a two per cent oil price dive, with Oil Search shares falling 1.65 per cent to $7.455 and Origin Energy dropping 2.43 per cent to $7.025.
Santos shed 2.23 per cent to $5.915, Caltex dropped 1.34 per cent to $26.225, and Woodside Petroleum was 1.07 per cent lower at $33.30.
Healthcare benchmark CSL rose 0.81 per cent to $197.285, ResMed was up 0.98 per cent to $16.52 while Cochlear Limited and Ramsay Healthcare were also higher.
BHP dragged the market lower with a 1.04 per cent drop to $32.43 after being accused of underpaying up to $300 million in iron ore royalties to the West Australian government dating back to 2004.
On Tuesday the mining giant said its second-quarter iron ore production fell nine per cent.
Rio Tinto fell 0.74 per cent to $79.42 while gold miner Northern Star plummeted 6.63 per cent to $8.59 after flagging rising costs for the coming year.
Global markets remain subdued after the International Monetary Fund trimmed its 2019 global economic growth estimates on Monday, while data from China on the same day confirmed the country’s slowest economic growth rate in 28 years.
The major US indices closed lower following reports the Trump administration rejected an offer from China for preparatory talks ahead of next week’s high-level trade negotiations.