The Australian stock market is trading lower in the wake of disappointing business investment figures and profit taking among investors.
CMC Markets chief market analyst Ric Spooner said the slide in the market on Thursday morning wasn't surprising in light of the recent rally, with the market up more than four per cent since the start of February.
The ASX200 reached a high of 5,461 points on Tuesday, just above the five year high set in October, but has since retreated a little.
"I think its mainly a confidence thing, the fact that we've stalled at around the previous highs," he said.
"You tend to see short term traders and people who are more inclined to take a bit of profit once the moment has been arrested."
Meanwhile official capital expenditure figures released on Thursday showed a 5.2 per cent decline in business investment during the December quarter, well above the one per cent decline the market had expected.
Mr Spooner said the disappointing figures could indicate weaker than expected economic growth during the quarter.
Qantas was among the worst performers with its shares down 10 cents, or eight per cent to $1.17 after announcing a $252 million first half loss and flagging plans to axe 5,000 jobs.
The big four banks were all lower with NAB down 18 cents to $34.66 while Westpac lost six cents to $33.50, ANZ fell eight cents lower at $32.00 and Commonwealth Bank was down 30 cents at $75.19.
BHP Billiton was down five cents at $38.53, Rio Tinto had lost 24 cents to $66.72 and Fortescue Metals was 15 cents lower at $5.53.
Meanwhile, Nine Entertainment Co shares were up one cent, at $2.29 after it said its first half revenue was up 22 per cent to $802.7 million.
* At 1215 AEDT on Wednesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 24.9 points, or 0.46 per cent, at 5,412.1.
* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 25.4 points, or 0.47 per cent, at 5,421.6.
* The March share price index futures contract was 38 points lower at 5,399, with 14,577 contracts traded.
* National turnover was 912 million securities worth $1.7 billion.