Australian shares have continued to slip under pressure from the heavyweight financial sector, while subdued business confidence has hit the local dollar.
A strong mining sector offset some of the market’s losses but the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index had by 1200 AEDT on Tuesday extended its daily slide to 43.5 points, or 0.74 per cent, at 5,862.1 points.
The broader All Ordinaries was 42 points, or 0.7 per cent, lower at 5,929.1, while the Aussie dollar was at 71.47 US cents from a high of 72.03 US cents on Monday.
The dollar was already at $71.66 but dropped further after the release of a closely watched index of Australian business conditions showed sentiment weakened sharply in December as sales, profits and employment all took a turn for the worse.
The big four banks fell further by lunchtime, ANZ leading the losses with a 2.39 per cent drop to $25.565.
Commonwealth Bank, NAB, and Westpac were down by between 1.37 and 2.2 per cent, while Macquarie Group was also subdued, dropping 1.12 per cent to $116.49.
Insurer QBE fell 1.92 per cent to $10.73, IAG dropped 0.42 per cent to $7.13, while AMP was down another 2.56 per cent to $2.25.
Respiratory health specialist ResMed remained 9.68 per cent lower at $13.07 after missing analysts’ earnings forecasts on Friday.
Healthcare giant CSL was also down, losing 2.16 per cent to $196.88, while Fisher and Paykel dropped 4.04 per cent to $12.34.
Oil was heading for its biggest one-day percentage drop in a month, pulling down Beach Energy, Oil Search, Santos, Woodside, Caltex, and Origin by between 3.68 and 0.24 per cent.
But the miners surged ahead after iron ore prices gained following the deadly Minas Gerais mining disaster in Brazil.
BHP shares were up 1.79 per cent to $33.64, Rio Tinto was up 3.29 per cent to $83.12, and Fortescue Metals rose 5.21 per cent to $5.05.
Gold miners also lifted, with Evolution up by 5.73 per cent to $3.965 and Northern Star gaining 3.48 per cent $8.33.
Elsewhere, shares in TPG were up 0.36 per cent to $6.985 in a turbulent morning in which the telco announced it was halting its mobile network rollout because of a ban on using Huawei equipment in 5G.
Rival Telstra surged 4.73 per cent to $3.10.
Wall Street closed lower on mounting fears that a slowing Chinese economy and tariffs will rattle US corporate profits.