The S&P/ASX200 slipped 9.4 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 4277.8, while the broader All Ords fell 8.7 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 4366.9.

Materials were the main drag on the market, falling 1.2 per cent. The gold sub-index slumped 3.2 per cent. Financials, however, rose 0.2 per cent and industrials gained 0.3 per cent.

Gold, which is considered a store of value and a hedge against the falling value of paper currencies, was the biggest loser amid fading expectations of a third round of quantitative easing and a stronger US dollar.

Local gold stocks including Newcrest Mining, OZ Minerals and Kingsgate were heavily sold.

Newcrest, Australia's largest gold miner, was down $1.03, or 3.3 per cent, at $30.27, OZ Minerals, which also produces copper, fell 27 cents, or 2.6 per cent, to $10.06 and Kingsgate backtracked 31 cents, or 4.5 per cent, to $6.58.

Mining giant BHP Billiton slipped 43 cents, or 1.21 per cent, to $35.18 while Rio Tinto declined 37 cents to $64.93.

In the energy sector, Woodside was 21 cents softer at $35.38, Oil Search was down 14 cents, or 1.96 per cent, at $7.00 and Santos inched one cent higher to $14.58.

Shayne Heffernan

Shayne Heffernan oversees the management of funds for institutions and high net worth individuals.

Shayne Heffernan holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reach a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.