Australian stocks have opened 0.7 per cent lower, outperforming the sharp declines from offshore markets during the overnight session.
At 7.33am, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 31.5 points, or 0.69 per cent, at 4511.6 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had fallen 32.6 points, or 0.71 per cent, to 4535.4 points.
On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was 29 points lower at 4503 points, on volume of 9118 contracts.
Every sector was in negative territory at the open, with about three stocks down for every one that had posted a gain.
The gold sector was leading the broader market lower, having fallen 2.08 per cent, according to IRESS data.
The spot price of gold in Sydney was $US1709.70 per fine ounce, down $US13.66 from Tuesday’s local close of $US1723.36 per ounce.
Metals and minerals stocks (down 1.57 per cent) and the materials sector (down 1.51 per cent) had also commenced trading in red figures.
RBS Morgans private client adviser Bill Bishop said it was a reflection of the relatively healthy state of the Australian economy that falls on the local market at the open were less severe than the slide on Wall Street.
“This reaction on the market this morning is recognition that Australia is in a relatively solid position,” Mr Bishop said.
“Things are not too bad here, while America and Europe are dealing with some really serious problems.”
Wall Street closed lower in response to a number of disappointing earnings results from US corporates and fresh jitters in Europe.
The Dow tumbled 1.82 per cent - its worst one-day fall since June - while the S&P500 slid 1.44 per cent and the NASDAQ declined 0.88 per cent.
National turnover was 303.7 million securities worth $622.6 million.