It has been a bad start to the last trading day of the year, with the local share market falling 0.5 per cent because of concerns about the US fiscal cliff.
The head of Investment Markets Research at Colonial First State Global Asset Management, Stephen Halmarick, has told ABC News Breakfast that political bickering is preventing any concrete progress.
"It's extremely disappointing that the US political system can't get a deal done on this fiscal policy outlook," he lamented.
"The economic data out of the US has actually been pretty good over the last couple of months, and the economy itself looked like it was gaining some momentum, but this inability to do a deal on the fiscal cliff could really wipe out all that good momentum." The All Ordinaries index was down 25 points to 4,660 around 10:45am (AEDT), and the ASX 200 was also around 0.5 per cent lower at 4,645.
Rio Tinto was down more than 1 per cent and BHP Billiton was 0.75 per cent lower.
The big four banks were down between 0.3 per cent and 1 per cent.
Shares in Sundance Resources had jumped more than 15 per cent in early trade, after reports China's Hanlong Group plans to complete its $1.4 billion takeover of the company by March.
Sundance has just won approval from the Republic of Congo's Ministerial Council for its proposed mine in that country, which was a necessary condition for the takeover to go ahead.
Fairfax shares were 4.2 per cent higher, after a consortium linked to Gina Rinehart bought a small holding.
The Australian dollar was slightly higher at 103.8 US cents.