The Australian share market has slipped lower in early trade as investors brace for fresh uncertainty sparked by exit poll results from the Italian referendum on constitutional reforms.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 0.8 per cent within the first half hour of trade, with financial and energy stocks dragging down the market.
"The weakness is flowing from the results coming through from Italy. The market's main concern is that this will lead to fresh elections in Italy and doesn't bode well for the stability of the European Union," CommSec market analyst Steven Daghlian said.
Exit polls showed Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has lost a referendum on constitutional reform by a wide margin, opening the door to renewed political instability in the eurozone's third-largest economy.
US stocks ended little changed on Friday after a payrolls report reinforced expectations for an interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve this month. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.11 per cent, while the S&P 500 ended 0.04 per cent higher.
In the local market, losses were led by financial stocks.
Shares in each of the big four banks were down more than one per cent, while Macquarie Group lost 1.1 per cent to $83.26 and insurer QBE slipped 2.6 per cent to $11.44.
Energy shares were also in the red despite the continuing improvement in oil prices. Mr Daghlian attributed the weakness to some profits being taken off the table after last week's rally in oil stocks.
Woodside Petroeum was 1.7 per cent to $30.43, Oil Search lost 1.7 per cent to $6.91, while Santos was trading 1.9 per cent lower at $4.29.
Retail focused shares, including JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Myer, Premier Investments and supermarket giant Woolworths were also trading between 0.7 to 2.0 per cent lower.
Among the few shares in positive territory, gold miners Newcrest, Evolution Mining and Regis Resources - often seen as a safe haven investment, were up between 0.8 to 2.4 per cent.
Mining giant Rio Tinto was also up 0.9 per cent at $58.58.
Shares in Duet Group are also expected to rise sharply when they resume trading at 1100 AEDT after the energy utility operator confirmed a $7.3 billion takeover bid from Hong Kong's Cheung Kong Infrastructure.
* At 1035 AEDT the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was down 47.1 points, or 0.87 per cent, at 5,396.9 points.
* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 45.2 points, or 0.82 per cent, at 5,457.4 points.
* The December share price index futures contract was down 42 points, or 0.77 per cent, at 5,402 points, with 10,420 contracts traded.
* National turnover was 428.8 million securities traded, worth $622.6 million.