The Australian market was lower at noon, but the falls have not been as heavy as occurred in the US overnight.
Investors appear risk averse, with resources stocks the hardest hit in light of disappointing economic data out of China and the fatal bombings in Boston.
The key driver in Australia was a reaction to resource stocks to the prospect of lower commodity prices, CMC Markets chief market analyst Ric Spooner said.
The reason the falls in Australia of less than one per cent were not as harsh as two per cent falls in the US overnight was because the ASX had already dropped significantly on Monday in response to China's growth data.
"While we saw a huge sell-off in gold last night, other commodities were not down in the dramatic fashion gold was," he told AAP.
It was too early to tell what implication the Boston marathon bombing would have, with its geopolitical relevance unknown, he said.
Gold prices plunged more than nine per cent on Monday to a two-year low, capping two days of turbulent trading - and Australian gold stocks are being heavily sold off again.
Newcrest has fallen 5.8 per cent, or $1.03, to $16.89 recovering some of its losses.
Among the miners, Fortescue had recovered after opening losses to be 1.5 per cent, or 5.5 cents up to $3.815.
Rio Tinto had fallen 39 cents to $54.70 and BHP Billiton dropped 38 cents to $31.93.
The four big banks were mixed.
ANZ had gained four cents to $28.83, Westpac lost 14 cents to $31.45, National Australia Bank was up one cent to $31.78 and Commonwealth Bank had fallen 10.5 cents to $68.405.
* At 1220 AEST on Tuesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 32.4 points, or 0.65 per cent, at 4,935.5 points.
* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 38.3 points, or 0.77 per cent, at 4,928.5 points.
* The June share price index futures contract was down 29 points at 4,932 points, with 17,575 contracts traded.
* National turnover was 973.9 million securities worth $1.86 billion.