SYDNEY, AAP – Shares on the Australian market were down by more than one per cent and no category was spared from selling.

The market has eased steadily since trading began on Thursday after Wall Street closed lower following more signs of a struggling US economy.

The ASX 200 fell to its lowest level of 7421.2 points just before 1200 AEST.

The major industry categories were among the worst performers. Shares in materials, financials, energy and industrials had losses of more than one per cent.

Information technology shares fared worst and were down 1.66 per cent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was lower by 78.7 points, or 1.04 per cent, to 7433.3 at 1200 AEST.

The All Ordinaries was down by 79.9 points, or 1.02 per cent, to 7727.6.

In the US, investor confidence was down after the Federal Reserve’s survey of business conditions.

The report found that US economic activity “downshifted” in July and August amid worries over surging COVID-19 cases, mounting supply chain problems and worker shortages.

In Australia, payroll jobs fell by a further 0.7 per cent in the first half of August as the impact of lockdowns continued to take a toll.

Meanwhile, the head of the National Australia Bank said the lockdowns were not as financially damaging for many customers as last year’s national shutdown.

NAB chief executive Ross McEwan told a hearing in Canberra many businesses were waiting for restrictions to ease.

At August 31, just over $1.8 billion in lending repayments were deferred compared with $58 billion at the height of the pandemic.

Shares in the bank were down 0.97 per cent to $28.57. The others in the big four were down by a little more than one per cent.

The big miners were all lower. BHP dropped 1.27 per cent to $41.08. Fortescue lost 0.44 per cent to $17.84. Rio Tinto shed two per cent to $106.00.

Gas provider Senex has struck a deal with miner New Century Resources in Mount Isa, Queensland.

Senex will supply about seven petajoules of natural gas over three years to a power station.

Shares were up 3.1 per cent to $3.32.

Oil Search has opened a $US565 million credit facility with banks across the globe.

The arrangement replaces the previous $US600 million facility which was due to expire next year.

Shares were down 1.6 per cent to $3.69.

The Australian dollar was buying 73.56 US cents at 1200 AEST, lower than 73.77 US cents at Wednesday’s close.