Australian shares are weaker as lower-than-expected production volumes from global mining giant BHP Billiton weigh down the overall market.
BHP, the second largest company on the Australian share market, announced iron ore production of 48.9 million tonnes during the December quarter but the result was below market expectations of 49.4 million tonnes, Bell Direct equities analyst Julia Lee says.
"There had been an expectation that we could have seen an upgrade to full year production guidance but we've actually just seen full year guidance remaining the same," she said, adding that this was affecting "the whole market".
"BHP's performance today is wiping seven points off the benchmark index."
BHP fell 53 cents to $37.42, even though it actually produced record volumes of coal and iron ore in the second half of 2013.
Meanwhile, Rio Tinto dumped $1.19 cents to $64.61 and iron ore miner Fortescue Metals fell 18.5 cents to $5.225.
Among the major banks, the Commonwealth Bank improved two cents to $76.12, ANZ found 12 cents at $31.27, National Australia Bank advanced nine cents to $34.08 but Westpac fell one cent to $31.78.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.26 per cent but the broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.28 per cent.
- At 1015 AEDT on Wednesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 16 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 5,315.5 points.
- The broader All Ordinaries index was down 15.4 points, or 0.29 per cent, at 5,326.6 points.
- The March share price index futures contract was 14 points lower at 5,274 points, with 5,353 contracts traded.
- National turnover was 502 million securities worth $332.2 million.