OptionsXpress market analyst Ben Le Brun said all sectors of the market were heading lower, especially the financial sector.
He said nothing fundamental was affecting the local bourse or the banks in particular, but global markets were generally volatile at the moment, and the Australian market was coming off a strong day on Thursday.
“Nothing fundamentally has changed overnight – just a weaker lead from Wall Street and a strong day yesterday, some nervousness in front of some key data points to come,” Le Brun said.
Le Brun said Chinese manufacturing data to be released later today and US non-farm payroll data to be released tonight would be important determinants of direction for the market in the near term.
Among the major banks at 1027 AEDT, National Australia Bank was off 69 cents at $29.55, Commonwealth Bank had fallen $1.86 to $73.06, Westpac had surrendered 80 cents to $29.55, and ANZ had retreated 62 cents to $22.84.
In the resources sector, global miner BHP Billiton dropped 12 cents to $16.74, Rio Tinto dumped 59 cents to $42.10, and Fortescue Metals descended six cents to $2.49.
Among other stocks, energy utility owner Duet Group lost seven cents at $2.21 as it said it expects to take full control of the main Western Australian gas transmission line in April after raising $200 million in a placement offer.
On Wall Street on Thursday, trading was subdued after three days of gains.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 31.57 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 17,685.09 points.
* At 1032 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 75.6 points, or 1.49 per cent, at 5,007.2 points.
* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 70.8 points, or 1.37 per cent, at 5,081.0 points.
* The June share price index futures contract was down 83 points at 4,983 points, with 13,435 contracts traded.
* National turnover was 310.42 million securities traded, worth $541.67 million.
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