Across the sectors, industrials and information technology led the losses, falling 1.8 and 1.9 per cent respectively for the session.
Waste management firms Cleanaway Waste Management and Bingo Industries led the industrials lower, sliding 3.4 and 2.9 per cent respectively to close at $1.835 and $2.34 respectively.
Some high-profile tech names were also hammered, with Afterpay Touch tumbling 4.4 per cent to $25.94. Appen shed 7.9 per cent to $19.96, Nearmap 4.7 per cent to $2.45 and Altium slid 4.3 per cent to $31.34.
Elsewhere, a lift in Australian benchmark 10-year bond yields to fresh three-month highs above 1.27 per cent weighed on bond-proxy sectors, with utilities, communications, consumer staples and REITs all sliding between 0.8 and 1.1 per cent.
Consumer discretionary shed 1.1 per cent, while healthcare fell 1 per cent, weighed down by steep falls in Cochlear and ResMed, which fell 1.9 and 3.5 per cent respectively to $212.00 and $20.72, the latter after trading ex-dividend.
Higher bond yields and a stronger US dollar also weighed on gold prices, sending spot prices down over 1.5 per cent on Tuesday. The weakness in bullion prices weighed on Australia’s listed gold miners, with the All Ords Gold Index tumbling 2.4 per cent during the session.
Financials, after heavy losses earlier in the week, continued to soften, ending trade down 0.2 per cent. National Australia Bank shares closed down 0.2 per cent at $27.80 ahead of the release of its full-year profit report on Thursday.
The energy sector, after posting early gains of close to 1 per cent, eventually finished flat, giving back ground as crude prices unwound some of the substantial gains seen earlier in the week in Asia.
Materials was the only sector to push higher, lifting 0.2 per cent thanks in part to a 1.5 per cent gain in BHP Group shares, which closed at $37.50. Rio Tinto also added 0.3 per cent to $95.11.
Aside from higher bond yields, a stronger Aussie dollar provided additional headwinds for firms with a large proportion of offshore earnings. The local currency continued to hover at around a three-month high of US69¢ on Wednesday.
As for whether the Aussie can continue to push higher in the near-term, strategists believe sentiment and news flow on US-China trade negotiations will be key.
“Our [base case] is that we won’t see a material roll-back on existing US tariffs on Chinese imports at this stage,” NAB senior FX strategist Rodrigo Catril told clients. “But if we were to get a full roll-back of existing of tariffs, the positive impact on the global growth outlook and pro-growth risk sensitive currencies such as the Aussie dollar could be significant.”