The Australian share market has ended lower, dragged by technology and industrial stocks, despite paring back losses in the last hour of trade.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed 17.9 points, or 0.27 per cent lower, at 6,682.40 on Wednesday, the last full session for the year. The index fell as low as 6630 early in the day.
The All Ordinaries closed down 19.2 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 6942.90.
Traders took early cues from overnight declines on Wall Street and booked profits in a holiday shortened trading week.
Local sentiment was hit further by a rebound in coronavirus case numbers in NSW.
The state reported 18 cases of community transmission and a second cluster of the deadly disease in Sydney’s inner west, prompting stricter New Year’s Eve restrictions.
But shares across Asian markets regained some momentum late in the session, as investors bet central banks would continue to pump liquidity next year to deal with the global impact of the pandemic.
Shares in Asia-Pacific were heading towards a record high, led by gains in Chinese shares on Wednesday.
The local market remained a sea of red through most of the session, with technology, utilities and industrial stocks most affected.
Construction giant CIMIC Ltd and toll road operator Transurban ended 1.5 and 2.4 per cent lower respectively, while Sydney Airport finished 0.8 per cent down.
Technology shares were most impacted by a nearly 4.0 per cent decline in buy-now-pay-later company Afterpay. Wisetech and Appen Group also sustained losses of around 1.5 per cent each.
Energy and mining stocks staged a smart recovery late in the session, with BHP and Rio Tinto ending 0.5 per cent higher each but Fortescue Metals closed unchanged. A weaker US dollar helped gold stocks recover early losses.
Among energy stocks, Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum closed higher but Origin Energy ended in the red.
Three of the four major banks finished down around 0.5 per cent, while Westpac was unchanged through the session.
A2 Milk shares lost 1.5 per cent to $11.44 after a two-day rally on the back of announcing a takeover of a dairy company in New Zealand.
Meanwhile, the Aussie dollar jumped to 76.61 US cents amid broad based weakness in its US counterpart. It closed at 75.95 US cents on Tuesday.
ON THE ASX
* The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed down 17.9 points, or by 0.27 per cent, to 6,682.40 on Wednesday.
* The All Ordinaries closed down 19.2 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 6942.90.
* The SPI200 futures index was unchanged at 6617 points.
One Australian dollar buys:
* 76.61 US cents, from 75.95 cents on Tuesday
* 79.12 Japanese yen, from 78.78 yen
* 62.33 Euro cents, from 62.07 cents
* 56.53 British pence, from 56.34 pence
* 106.62 NZ cents, from 106.65 cents.