(Australian Associated Press)
Australian shares have regained some ground but remain lower at midday following heavy overnight falls on Wall Street.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index, which had been down as much as 0.87 per cent, was 0.56 per cent lower at 5,799.6 points at 1200 AEDT on Wednesday.
The broader All Ordinaries index was down 0.58 per cent at 5,898.3 points, with industrials and property trusts the only sectors showing gains.
The materials sector was down 0.85 per cent following falls in the price of copper and iron ore, with BHP Billiton down 0.62 per cent to $28.81 and Fortescue Metals falling 4.04 per cent to $4.395.
Rio Tinto shares sank 0.31 per cent to $73.93 despite increased hopes of a shareholder windfall after the resources giant completed its exit from Australian coal with the $2.25 billion sale of its interest in Queensland’s Kestrel underground mine.
The big four banks were trading between 0.48 and 0.82 lower, with ANZ Bank the worst performer, down 22.5 cents at $27.185.
Technology stocks mimicked Facebook-led falls in the US, with WiseTech Global dropping 49 cents, or 4.62 per cent to $10.11.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.93 per cent to 7008.81 overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.43 per cent to 23,857.71, and the S&P 500 lost 1.73 per cent to 2612.62.
Energy stocks sank as oil prices remained flat, pulled in opposite directions by strong global crude output and talk of a possible disruption to Middle East supply.
Woodside Petroleum fell 1.31 per cent to $29.115, Santos declined 0.58 per cent to $5.16, and Oil Search was trading 1.77 per cent lower at $7.23.
The Australian dollar continued its slide against its US counterpart, dragged down by the commodity price falls.
At 1200 AEDT, the local currency was worth 76.92 US cents, down from 77.30 US cents on Tuesday.
ON THE ASX AT 1200 AEDT:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 32.7 points, or 0.56 per cent, at 5,799.6 points
* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 34.4 points, or 0.58 per cent, at 5,909.3 points
* The SPI200 futures contract was down 37 points, or 0.64 per cent, at 5,781 points
* National turnover was 1.493 billion securities traded worth $2.266 billion
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 76.92 US cents, from 77.30 on Tuesday
* 81.16 Japanese yen, from 81.66 yen
* 61.97 euro cents, from 62.10 euro cents
* 54.26 British pence, from 54.33 pence
* 105.86 NZ cents, from 106.12 cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1200 AEDT was $US1,345.69 per fine ounce, from $US1,352.69 per fine ounce on Tuesday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEDT:
* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 2.9892pct, from 2.0334pct on Tuesday
* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.582pct, from 2.6298pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* June 2018 10-year bond futures contract was 97.385 (implying a yield of 2.615pct), from 97.330 (2.670pct) on Tuesday
* June 2018 3-year bond futures contract was 97.885 (2.115pct), from 97.840 (2.160pct).
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)