Australian shares have finished firmer as investors expect the US Federal Reserve to maintain its economic stimulus measures.
The US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) members will meet again on Thursday night, Australian time, and are expected keep quantitative easing in place after the the release of mediocre economic data.
"There is a bit of trepidation leading into such a major economic event, which is why our market couldn't sustain its early morning gains," Australian Stock Report senior equity analyst Benny Sada said.
A rally by the US dollar in the lead up to the FOMC meeting also hit commodity prices, including gold.
Australia's biggest listed gold producer, Newcrest Mining, shed 23 cents, or 2.1 per cent, to $10.67.
The resource giants made small gains, with BHP Billiton finding eights cents to $37.67 and Rio Tinto added three cents to $63.44.
In the financial sector, National Australia Bank was down while its three major rivals are up, suggesting investors doubt NAB's financial results on Thursday will impress.
"NAB's going to really have to shoot the lights out with their results tomorrow because their share price move over the past few weeks has factored in a good result," Mr Sada said.
NAB shares dropped 45 cents to $36.23, while ANZ gained seven cents to $33.70, Commonwealth Bank added 22 cents to $77.01 and Westpac was 30 cents higher at $34.90.
Among the day's top performers was JB Hi-Fi, which said sales in the early months of the financial year were higher.
Its shares gained 75 cents, or 3.65 per cent, to $21.29.
Insurance Australia Group also performed well, after maintaining its financial guidance, gaining 17 cents, or 2.86 per cent, to $6.11.
- At the close on Wednesday the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 15.4 points, or 0.28 per cent, at 5,430.9.
- The broader All Ordinaries index was up 14.7 points, or 0.27 per cent, at 5,425.4.
- The December share price index futures contract was nine points higher at 5,417, with 20,186 contracts traded.
- National turnover was 1.7 billion securities worth $4.2 billion.