The share market has ended sharply lower over concerns about a political deadlock over the looming fiscal cliff in the US and Greece not securing its next bailout.
The All Ordinaries retreated 1.5 per cent to 4,404 while the ASX 200 dropped 68 points to 4,379.
Bank, mining and energy stocks led the falls.
Of the big four banks, NAB was down just over 2 per cent, while BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto both dropped 1.6 per cent.
Oil and gas producer Santos dropped 2 per cent, while Woodside lost 1 per cent.
There were a few bright spots though, with shares in fertiliser and explosives maker Incitec Pivot reporting a 10 per cent increase in full-year net profit, seeing shares rise almost 4 per cent.
Shares in Seven West Media soared 11 per cent after the company told investors it was not emotionally attached to any part of the business and would continue to cut costs to remain profitable.
Chief executive Don Voelte outlined millions in new cost cuts at the company's AGM today.
Meanwhile, the news keeps getting worse for BrisConnections shareholders.
Shares in the troubled toll road operator have been suspended from trade indefinitely, pending talks with its lenders.
It looks like the company is now worth less than its debts and is likely to be sold off.
On the economics front, the key NAB business confidence survey showed the business sector continued to weaken, with conditions slumping to their lowest point in more than three years.
The Australian dollar was winding back earlier gains and just after 5:30pm (AEDT) it was down a quarter of a cent against the greenback, buying 104 US cents.
On the cross rates it was at 82 euro cents, 65.5 British pence and 82.5 Japanese yen.
West Texas Crude was flat at $US86 a barrel while Tapis was down to $US114.
Spot gold was down to $US1,725 an ounce.