The Australian stock market pared modest early gains to fall half a per cent at noon, as investors fled materials and the big banks took a hit, despite fresh record highs overnight on Wall Street.
At 1205 AEST, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 0.5 per cent to 4968.5 points and the broader All Ordinaries index shed 0.45 per cent to 4,954.4 points.
Materials were mixed, with the major miners falling sharply in late morning trade.
Rio Tinto shed 1.55 per cent to $55.82, while BHP Billiton tumbled 1.11 per cent to $33.84.
Fortescue Metals retreated 0.94 per cent to $3.675.
Whitehaven Coal added 1.4 per cent to $2.17, while Newcrest rose 0.09 per cent to $10.96.