The Australian stock market pared sharp early falls to sit half a per cent lower at noon as investors digested a barrage of company earnings.
Sentiment took a hit on the lack of clarity provided by the release of US Federal Reserve minutes overnight on the timeline for the paring of quantitative easing.
At 1205 AEST, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 0.53% to 5,072.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index lost 0.51% to 5,064.2 points.
CMC Markets Stockbroking's Chay Flack said the Federal Reserve minutes indicated board members were comfortable with changes outlined by chair Ben Bernanke to wind up the stimulus easing program sometime next year.
He said investors' focus would shift to the federal election after earnings came off.
"With earning season at or over the hump it’s likely the market will ease off over the next few weeks as investors take profits," he said.
"However the September election will become more of a focus with the expected change in government being looked at favourable for the market."