The Australian share market has steadied after early losses but remains more than 1 per cent lower.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was lower by 63 points, or 1.17 per cent, to 5340.0 points at 1200 AEST on Wednesday.
The All Ordinaries index was 65.6 points lower, or 1.19 per cent, at 5431.7.
All sectors were in the red, with property and energy faring the worst – down 2.65 and 2.39 per cent respectively.
Commonwealth Bank was the only one of the big four trading higher.
CBA shares were up 0.1 per cent to $59.77 after it said it would sell a 55 per cent stake in its Colonial First State wealth management unit and made an additional provision of $1.5 billion for the potential longer term impacts of COVID-19.
The other three major banks were down less than 1 per cent each, while Macquarie had a 2.74 per cent fall to $104.08.
The downbeat mood follows the decline in US markets after the top US infectious disease expert warned against re-opening the economy from coronavirus lockdown too soon.
Dr Anthony Fauci told Congress that if the economy reopens too soon, it could not only cause “some suffering and death that could be avoided, but could even set you back on the road to try to get economic recovery.”
St George senior economist Janu Chan was not surprised by the ASX reaction and said the market had been vulnerable to a sell-off.
“I think there would always have been concern about a second wave of infections,” she said.
“The risk was there. Fauci’s comments just crystallised it. We’re not out of the woods yet.”
Elsewhere in the market, property developer Stockland said enquiries to its residential communities have recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels but its future outlook remains uncertain.
Its shares were lower by 0.18 per cent to $2.71.
Another developer, GPT Group, said more than half the shops at its shopping centres are trading this week, more than the 35 per cent in late April.
Its shares were also down 1.46 per cent to $4.04.
Shares in airline Regional Express surged 24 per cent to $1.12 after it outlined plans to expand services between capital cities.
The carrier said it had not decided how it might do this, and would decide within eight weeks.
There were mixed numbers for the big miners.
BHP dropped 0.59 per cent to $30.54, Rio lost 0.16 per cent to $82.47 and Fortescue gained 0.98 per cent to $11.83.
One of the bigger energy companies doing it toughest was Santos. Its shares shed 3.56 per cent to $4.61.
Meanwhile, Australia has been blindsided after China suspended beef imports from four abattoirs, escalating trade and diplomatic tensions between the two nations.
One Australian dollar was buying 64.71 US cents at 1200 AEST, up from 64.70 US cents at the close of trade on Tuesday.