The Australian stock market finished lower as nervous investors made for the safety of defensive stocks amid thin trading volumes.
At the close of trade on Wednesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 11.0 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 4,281.2, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 10.4 points, or 0.24 per cent, at 4,307.0.
On the ASX 24, the September share price index futures contract was 14 points lower at 4,242 with 29,978 contracts traded.
CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said global risks were keeping investors cautious and Europe was still not out of the woods.
"Fear is keeping retail investors on the sidelines and institutional investors are waiting for reporting season to play out," Mr McCarthy said.
"It was a rotation back into defensives, with healthcare, telcos, consumer discretionary, property trusts, consumer staples finishing in the green whereas miners, energy and resources generally were under pressure."
Resources stocks suffered some of the steepest falls, with BHP Billiton down 33 cents, or one per cent, at $32.62.
Rio Tinto fell $1.42 cents, or 2.5 per cent, to $55.10 and Fortescue Metals was down 20 cents, or 4.55 per cent, at $4.20.
In the banking sector, shares in the National Australia Bank, Westpac and ANZ all fell.
NAB lost 44 cents, or 1.78 per cent to $24.26, Westpac was down two cents, or 0.08 per cent, at $23.68, and ANZ was 13 cents, or 0.55 per weaker at $23.63.
Only the Commonwealth Bank bucked the trend, climbing 51 cents, or 0.92 per cent, to $56.05 after posting a record $7.09 billion full year profit.
In other local equities, shares in medical centres operator and pathology provider Primary Health Care jumped 12 per cent to $3.46, after it reported a 49 per cent increase in net profit to $116.6 million for the year and forecast further growth.
Westfield Group shares climbed 0.52 per cent to $9.63 after the company said its profit of $800.1 million in the six months to June 30 was up 31.4 per cent on the previous corresponding period.
National turnover was 1.52 billion shares worth $4.02 billion, with 444 shares up, 451 shares down and 339 unchanged.
The price of gold in Sydney was $US1,600.40 per fine ounce, down $US13.83 from $US1,614.23 on Tuesday.
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