The IT, materials and utilities sectors are the hardest hit, whilst the consumer discretionary, healthcare and telco sectors are the only ones in the green.
In company news, AQP and ERA are suffering heavy falls – 10% and 8% respectively – after reporting their latest production numbers.
Elsewhere, Fairfax is up close to 9% following news last evening that mining magnate Gina Rinehart has bought nearly 8% of the company.
In economic news, China’s PMI rose to 50.5 in January from 50.3 in December – higher than the median 49.5 economists had forecast.
The unexpected rise in the index will likely assuage market concerns about a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.
Around the region, Asian markets are generally stronger; the Hang Seng (+0.6%) and Nikkei (+0.2%) are amongst the best.