Global markets were mixed overnight, with gains in Europe unable to be sustained into the US session.
European markets gained ground, with the Stoxx Europe 600 up 0.4%, after a well-received Spanish bill auction.
In London the FTSE 100 put on 33 points (+0.6%) to settle at 5858, whilst the French CAC (+0.9%) and German DAX (+0.8%) also enjoyed solid gains.
Stateside, the Dow Jones slumped 68 points (-0.5%) to settle at 13204, whilst the S&P gave up 0.4% and the NASDAQ lost 0.3%.
The Dow finished with its biggest decline in almost three weeks, falling for the second session in a row after knocking on the door of multiyear highs.
Investors will be watching the Federal Reserve closely in the coming days for signs that the central bank could act again to firm up economic growth.
On Wednesday night Australian time, the Fed’s policy-making committee will release the minutes from its most recent meeting.
Next week, Wall Street will turn its attention to the annual economic policy symposium hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in Jackson Hole, where Fed Chairman Bernanke announced a second round of bond-buying in 2010.
Crude-oil futures rose for the fifth time in six sessions, adding 0.7% to settle at $97.10 a barrel. Gold futures gained 1.2% to $1,639.90 a troy ounce. The US dollar fell against the euro and the yen.
In company news, Seek has reported a net profit of $131.7 million a 34.8% increase on the prior year.
Today’s session will bring us data in the form of the Melbourne Institute leading index, at 10:30am, AEST.