A two-day losing streak extended as investors worried over a potential downgrade of Spanish and French debt.
Locally the bears took charge from the open. The bulls managed to wrestle some control back by the close, but still could not get the price action out of negative territory.
The banks weighed on the market; CBA dropped 1.5%, whilst NAB lost 1.6% after flagging pressure on its margins due to an increase in offshore funding costs.
The big miners lost ground after an extremely weak night in commodities, BHP let go of 1.8%, while rival Rio Tinto tumbled 2.8%.
It was a shocking day for gold stocks, not helped by over $200 being wiped off the spot price of gold in the past three days.
Saracen (-8.2%) and St Barbara (-5.2%) were two of the hardest hit in the sector.
The ASX 200 shed 51 points (-1.2%) to close the day at 4140.