The energy, resource and finance sectors led the falls on the local share market today after investors took their lead from Wall Street.
The All Ordinaries lost 0.7 per cent to 4,502 while the ASX 200 ended 33 points down at 4,484.
Overnight, US stocks tumbled to their lowest levels in three months as investors fretted whether the newly re-elected president, Barack Obama, can pull the economy back from the fiscal cliff with a Republican-dominated House.
The Dow retreated 2.4 per cent.
On the local market, coal miners saw some of the sharpest falls; Whitehaven lost almost 3 per cent.
Oil and gas producers Santos and Woodside were both down around three quarters of a per cent, while market heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto gave back around 1 per cent.
The big four banks ended mixed; ANZ dropped 4.5 per cent as it traded without dividend, while NAB lost half a per cent.
Commonwealth and Westpac, however, gained ground.
Qantas shares failed to be buoyed by .
Qantas is cutting more than 400 staff in its latest round of redundancies; 200 maintenance jobs are going from Sydney Airport, with the airline claiming it is currently overstaffed with a ratio of about 40 engineers for every aircraft.
The rest of the cuts are workers who have refitted 747s at Avalon Airport.
On the economic front, official figures out today shows almost 11,000 full-time jobs were added in October, keeping the jobless rate unexpectedly steady at 5.4 per cent.
Most economists have been surprised by the data but say with job ads and business confidence remaining low, unemployment will rise over the coming months.
The data has pushed out the chance of a rate cut next month though, and that sent the Australian dollar back above 104 US cents.
Just after 5:30pm (AEDT), it was worth 104.07 US cents, 81.5 euro cents, 65.1 British pence and 83.1 Japanese yen.
West Texas crude dropped to $US84.50 a barrel, Tapis crude also fell to $US112 a barrel, while spot gold trimmed back some of yesterday's gain to $US1,719 an ounce.