Shares were down by more than one per cent on the Australian market, and all industry sectors lower, after a negative lead from US markets.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was down 70.4 points, or 1.18 per cent, to 5853.5 points at 1200 AEST on Thursday.
The All Ordinaries index was lower by 73 points, or 1.19 per cent, to 6038.3.
The materials sector, which includes the miners, was down 1.75 per cent. A fall in iron ore prices has not helped. Iron ore (China Port) was down 0.83 per cent to $US119.5 per tonne.
The financials sector was down 1.14 per cent and energy was lower by 1.58 per cent.
Information technology had the greatest losses, like its US markets counterpart, of 1.96 per cent.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has warned the economy is set to contract by about six per cent more than forecast by the end of 2021 as the nation wrestles with the coronavirus pandemic.
In a pre-budget speech, Mr Frydenberg also said unemployment is set to rise in coming months from the August rate of 6.8 per cent due to the lockdown effects in Victoria.
Meanwhile there was better news from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which reported household wealth climbed 1.5 per cent in the June quarter to $11,131.8 billion.
That was an improvement on the three per cent decrease in the previous quarter.
On the market, Westpac captured most of the early attention after it agreed to pay a $1.3 billion fine for breaches of money laundering and terror financing laws.
Westpac had estimated the fine would be about $900 million and said it would increase the provision in its accounts by $404 million.
It is the largest civil penalty in Australian history, handed out for breaches which occurred between 2013 and 2019.
Shares in the bank were lower by 1.12 per cent to $16.20.
Among its rivals, ANZ was down by 1.09 per cent to $16.66, the Commonwealth was lower by 1.3 per cent to $63.43 and NAB had declined by 0.73 per cent to $16.99.
In mining, BHP has signed an agreement with Encounter Resources giving it the right to enter a joint venture at the Elliott Copper Project in the Northern Territory.
Shares were lower by 1.26 per cent to $36.68. Rio Tinto was down by 1.12 per cent to $96.40 and Fortescue was lower by 0.71 per cent to $15.86.
In the most affected sector, technology, Afterpay was lower by 4.59 per cent to $75.11.
The company’s chief financial officer of almost three years, Luke Bortoli, will leave the job on October 6.
The former boss of marketing group Salmat, Rebecca Lowde, will replace him. Ms Lowde has also been chief financial officer of listed technology company Bravura.
In the US overnight, losses on Wall Street wiped out the gains from the previous session.
Data showed a slowdown in the US services sector in September, while the stalemate in Congress over fiscal stimulus to help the economy through the pandemic continued.
The S&P 500 fell 2.4 per cent, or 78.65 points, to 3,236.92 and technology stocks accounted for the biggest losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 525.05 points, or 1.9 per cent, to 26,763.13. The Nasdaq composite slid 330.65 points, or 3 per cent, to 10,632.99.
The Australian dollar was buying 70.58 US cents, down from 71.19 US cents after the close of trade on Wednesday.