Australian shares were lower mid-session as pessimism about the European debt crisis continues.
At 10am, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 15.6 points, or 0.39 per cent, at 4012.2, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 16 points, or also 0.39 per cent, at 4056.
On the ASX 24, the September share price index futures contract was down 18 points at 3979, with 12,871 contracts traded.
IG Markets analyst Cameron Peacock said the domestic market was lower after falls on overseas markets and tax-loss selling before the end of the financial year, but not as bad as it could have been.
"Markets were quite soft overnight,” he said.
"We saw some big losses again in Europe and the US, there’s ongoing concerns about the health of the European Union and there’s scepticism about the upcoming EU summit and whether it will deliver any meaningful solution.
"That’s the backdrop in which our market is playing and then you throw in the mix the tax-loss selling occurring but we’re not as bad off as what we could have been in."
US stocks tumbled as Europe’s leaders appeared still-divided on how they will address their crisis in the coming crunch summit for the euro zone.
At the close overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 138.12 points (1.09 per cent) to 12,502.66 at the close of trade.
European stocks tumbled and the euro slid ahead of a major EU summit this week that analysts say is unlikely to deliver concrete steps to extinguish euro zone debt fires.
Locally, the shake-up in the media sector continues with shares in Fairfax Media falling to new record lows after the company’s largest shareholder Gina Rinehart raised the prospect of selling out should she not secure seats on the board “without unsuitable conditions".
At 8.30am, Fairfax was down 2.75 cents, or 4.82 per cent, at 54.25 cents, but had risen to 54.5 cents by 10am.
Meanwhile, former Woodside chief executive Don Voelte has replaced David Leckie as Seven West Media CEO.
Mr Leckie will take on a new role as executive director of media at Seven Group Holdings, which holds investments in Seven West, earthmoving company WesTrac and Agricultural Bank of China.
At 10.20am Seven West shares have fallen 19 cents to $1.78.
The mining giants were lower or flat mid-session.
BHP Billiton was 41 cents down to $30.66, Rio Tinto was 62 cents lower at $55.28 and Fortescue was flat at $4.85.National turnover was 715 million shares worth $1.295 billion, with 1,220 stocks trading 243 higher, 590 lower and 387 unchanged.
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