The sharemarket lost early gains to again close lower as investors remain cautious ahead of the release of corporate earnings reports.
The local market looked set for a rebound from its heaviest one-day fall since August after opening higher, but slumped in early afternoon trade.
IG chief market strategist Chris Weston said uncertainty about equity markets and emerging market commodities were causing investors to be nervous.
Investors were also waiting for more earnings results to be delivered by local companies to get a clearer picture of the short term direction of the top 200 listed companies.
"Equities are a confidence game," Mr Weston said.
"We need to have that clarity that earnings aren't going to be hit further down the line and until we do, people are going to tread with caution."
The big banks all fell, while the resources sector was mixed.
Echo Entertainment was one of the worst performers, losing 14 cents, or 6.03 per cent, to $2.18 after the casino owner's half year profit dropped by 30.5 per cent.
Its chief executive John Redmond also announced he will leave the casino operator after slightly more than a year in the job.
BHP Billiton shed 22 cents to $35.28, while Rio Tinto gained 48 cents to $64.59.
Commonwealth Bank lost 71 cents to $72.49, National Australia Bank dropped 25 cents to $32.14, Westpac shed nine cents to $30.31 and ANZ was 28 cents weaker at $29.02.
- The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index dropped 26.8 points, or 0.53 per cent, to 5,070.3.
- The broader All Ordinaries index lost 25.4 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 5,088.7.
- The March share price index futures contract was 32 points lower at 5,018, with 36,943 contracts traded.
- The price of gold in Sydney was $US1,254.30 per fine ounce, down $US4.40 on Monday's closing price of $US1,258.70.
- National turnover was 1.75 billion securities worth $5.49 billion.