The Australian stock market finished lower, dragged down by technology and industrials, despite retreating losses in the last hour of trading.
The benchmark S & P / ASX200 closed 17.9 points, or 0.27% lower, at 6,682.40 on Wednesday, the last full session of the year. The index fell as low as 6630 earlier in the day.
The All Ordinaries closed 19.2 points, or 0.28%, at 6,942.90.
Traders took the first indications of the overnight declines on Wall Street and recorded profits in a shortened trading week.
Local sentiment has been further affected by a rebound in the number of coronavirus cases in New South Wales.
The state has reported 18 cases of community-based transmission and a second cluster of the deadly disease in western Sydney, resulting in tighter restrictions for New Years Eve.
But Asian market equities regained some momentum late in the session, with investors betting central banks would continue to pump liquidity next year to deal with the global impact of the pandemic.
Asia-Pacific stocks were heading for an all-time high, led by gains in Chinese stocks on Wednesday.
The local market remained a sea of red for most of the session, with technology, utilities and industrial stocks being the hardest hit.
Construction giant CIMIC Ltd and toll road operator Transurban finished 1.5 and 2.4 percent, respectively, while Sydney Airport finished 0.8 percent.
Technology shares were the hardest hit with a nearly 4.0 percent drop from Afterpay, a company that buys now-pays later. Wisetech and Appen Group also suffered losses of around 1.5 percent each.
Energy and mining stocks had a smart rally late in the session, with BHP and Rio Tinto each finishing 0.5% higher, but Fortescue Metals closed unchanged. A weaker US dollar helped gold stocks recover their early losses.
Among energy stocks, Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum closed higher but Origin Energy finished in the red.
Three of the Big Four banks finished down around 0.5 percent, while Westpac was unchanged throughout the session.
A2 Milk shares fell 1.5% to $ 11.44 after a two-day rally following news of a takeover of a dairy company in New Zealand.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar surged to 76.61 US cents amid widespread weakness from its US counterpart. It closed at 75.95 US cents on Tuesday.
* The benchmark S & P / ASX200 closed down 17.9 points, or 0.27%, at 6,682.40 on Wednesday.
* The All Ordinaries closed 19.2 points, or 0.28%, at 6,942.90.
* The SPI200 futures index was unchanged at 6,617 points.
An Australian dollar buys:
* 76.61 cents US, from 75.95 cents Tuesday
* 79.12 Japanese yen, from 78.78 yen
* 62.33 euro cents, from 62.07 cents
* 56.53 British pence, from 56.34 pence
* 106.62 cents NZ, from 106.65 cents.