SYDNEY, AAP – Shares have fallen to their lowest level of the day on the ASX after the US Federal Reserve flagged the prospect of an earlier easing of economic stimulus.

The Australian market was down 0.81 per cent on Wednesday at 1200 AEDT and all share categories were lower.

Overnight, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell signalled the US central bank would consider speeding up its withdrawal of bond purchases as inflation risks increase. US markets closed lower.

Meanwhile, the head of drugmaker Moderna gave investors more cause for concern when he said current COVID-19 vaccines would be less effective against the Omicron variant.

Consumer staples, technology and property shares fared worst on the Australian market.

Woolworths was down 2.64 per cent to $39.74. Coles dropped 1.49 per cent to $17.75.

The big miners were about the only ones seemingly resistant to the general downturn. BHP climbed 0.29 per cent to $39.48. Fortescue was little changed. Rio Tinto rose 1.13 per cent to $94.56.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 59 points, or 0.81 per cent to 7197 points.

The All Ordinaries was lower by 66.4 points, or 0.87 per cent, to 7521 points.

Australian economic data for the September quarter proved better than expected but barely moved the market.

The economy contracted by 1.9 per cent after COVID-19 lockdowns in the biggest states. Economists expected a 2.5 per cent fall.

In company news, ANZ credit card customers have started a class action against the bank and claim their contracts were unfair.

The bank said it was reviewing the claim, which was filed in the Federal Court.

ANZ shares were faring the worst of the big four banks. They were down 1.12 per cent to $26.40. The other three had losses of less than one per cent.

Ampol is going ahead with the sale of 20 petrol stations to an unlisted property trust for $50.5 million.

Ampol will collect $48 million from the sale and own a 51 per cent stake in the trust.

Charter Hall will have a 49 per cent stake.

Ampol shares were down almost one per cent to $28.40.

Charter Hall shares were down 1.8 per cent to $4.08.

Oz Minerals has formed a joint venture to search for base metals in part of South Australia.

The company is set to invest $10 million over seven years in a deal with Minotaur Exploration to explore at Peake and Denison.

Shares were up 0.15 per cent to $26.03.

The Australian dollar was buying 71.30 US cents at 1200 AEDT, higher from 71.21 US cents at Tuesday’s close.