The ASX200 continued its downbeat form in afternoon trade, diving under the 7300 mark in the last hour of the Wednesday session.
The Australian sharemarket missed out on the rally party across the Asia-Pacific region, as the only benchmark to retreat in a wave of advances in mainland China, Hong Kong and Japan.
Financials were among the driving forces weighing down the broader market, as Westpac led the decline by the big four banks and shed 1.8 per cent by the end of trade.
Energy compounded the downward pressure, on the back of a slump in oil prices overnight, as Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL)
and Santos (ASX:STO)
shed 2.1 and 2.5 per cent by the close of business.
Travel stocks also reflected the pessimistic sentiment of the market, as the NSW government imposed tougher social restrictions to quell the worsening COVID outbreak in Sydney.
Sydney Airport (ASX:SYD)
and Qantas (ASX:QAN)
tumbled 2.4 per cent and 0.3 per cent, due to a ban on outbound travel from Sydney for non-essential purposes.
Miners and tech firms mustered the most resistance against the broad-based sell-off, as BHP (ASX:BHP)
, Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO)
and Afterpay (ASX:APT)
At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.60 per cent or 43.70 points lower at 7298.50.
The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 87.00 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 7.25 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 37.50 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 50 points when the market next opens.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector was Information Technology, up 1.10 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Health Care, down 1.36 per cent.
The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Washington H. Soul Pattinson (ASX:SOL), closing 8.46 per cent higher at $33.08. It was followed by shares in Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) and Boral (ASX:BLD).
The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Redbubble (ASX:RBL), closing 6.90 per cent lower at $3.24. It was followed by shares in Pro Medicus (ASX:PME) and Flight Centre Travel Group (ASX:FLT).
Japan's Nikkei has gained 0.02 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has gained 1.50 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has gained 0.38 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1782.45 an ounce.
Iron ore is 3.00 per cent higher at US$214.32 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 2.65 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.44 higher at US$69.86 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.45 US cents.