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Broad-based losses drag Aust market lower

James Hall

The Australian share market has finished the day almost one per cent lower, in a broad-based sell-off sparked by worries there won't be a US-China trade truce.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 44.7 points, or 0.78 per cent, at 5668.4 on Tuesday, while the broader All Ordinaries fell 0.83 per cent.

Tech, banks, energy and health care stocks all suffered significant losses, which CMC Markets chief strategist Michael McCarthy said reveals what the concerns of investors were.

"It's high growth internationally exposed stocks that were under pressure and also those stocks that are leveraged to the local economy," he told AAP.

Financial stocks weighed heaviest on the indices, with Westpac suffering the biggest loss of the big four lenders, down 1.2 per cent to $25.59, and ANZ the least, down 0.7 per cent to $26.17.

Macquarie Group dropped even further, losing 2.5 per cent to $113.41.

With the weight of concerns over global growth and lower oil prices, the energy sector dragged on the ASX.

Origin, Oil Search and Santos were between 1.6 and 2.2 per cent lower, while Woodside was down 0.5 per cent and Caltex was flat.

The materials sector also fell despite gains from a handful of its major players.

BHP rose 0.7 per cent to $31.83, Rio Tinto was 0.3 per cent higher at $73.71, and South32 was up 0.6 per cent to $3.23.

BlueScope was down 0.8 per cent to $11.98, while Fortescue Metals was unchanged at $4.10.

Computershare, Xero and Altium were between three and five per cent weaker, dragging the tech stocks to record the worst percentage loss on the market.

Health care benchmark CSL lost 1.1 per cent to $179.75 and offset gains to Cochlear and ResMed which were both less than half a per cent higher to $170.71 and $15.22 respectively.

Coles snapped a six day run of losses, closing 2.9 per cent higher, and lifted the consumer staples to join utilities as the only two sectors in positive territory.

The Australian dollar slumped after data released showed economic growth slowed to a below-expectation 0.3 per cent in the September quarter, and to 2.8 per cent over 12 months, which further dimmed the chance of any rise in interest rates.

The Aussie was buying 72.92 US cents at 1630 AEDT up from 73.70 US cents cents on Tuesday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 44.7 points, or 0.78 per cent, at 5668.4

* The All Ordinaries was down 48.4 points, or 0.83 per cent, at 5749.1

* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down 38 points, or 0.67 per cent, at 5662

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 72.92 US cents, from 73.70 US cents cents on Tuesday

* 82.42 Japanese yen, from 83.34

* 64.40 euro cents, from 64.79

* 57.47 British pence, from 57.83

* 105.43 NZ cents, from 105.98

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1235.28 per fine ounce, from $US1236.54 on Tuesday.