The Australian share market closed firmly in the red on Tuesday following a weaker materials sector and profit-taking.

At 1615 AEDT the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 76.8 points, or 1.59 per cent, at 4753.5 points and the broader All Ordinaries index fell 77.7 points, or 1.61 per cent, to 4754.9 points.

On the Sydney Futures Exchange, the December share price index contract was 79 points lower at 4761 points on a volume of 29,494 contracts.

RBS Morgans Ipswich manager Tony Russell said the weaker local bourse was followed a poorer performance from Wall Street overnight and profit-taking among local investors.

"(We're) looking for further weakness on the markets tonight to flow through," Mr Russell said.

He said there had been a strong performances from the market over the past three or four months and participants were waiting now for profit-takers to move in.

"We've seen a strong Aussie dollar as well and that's giving some concern to our exporters."

Mr Russell said the resources, energy and precious metal stocks were depressed the market on Tuesday falling a fall in the price of crude oil.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in December, backpedalled US$1.82, or 2.3 per cent, to US$78.68 a barrel, the largest decline in a month.

Mining giant BHP Billiton declined 88 cents, or 2.21 per cent, to $38.85 and rival Rio Tinto fell $1.89, or 2.82 per cent, to $65.02.

Oil Search was seven cents lower at $6.03, Santos down 17 cents at $15.27 and Woodside $1.25, or 2.46 per cent, weaker at $49.60.

On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 104.22 points, or 1.05 per cent, at 9,867.96.

Among the banks, ANZ was down five cents at $23.75, NAB was six cents lower at $30.70.

NAB releases its annual results on Wednesday, with ANZ to follow on Thursday.

Commonwealth Bank was off 83 cents, or 1.48 per cent, at $55.15 and Westpac was down 30 cents at $27.23.

In news, Macquarie Group bought Canadian wealth management business, Blackmont Capital Inc, for $C93.3 million (A$95.16 million) to expand the distribution of its brokerage offerings in that country.

Macquarie shares were down $1.02 at $52.18.

Property trust ING Industrial Fund (IIF) is raising $700 million in fresh capital to pay down debt and put the group in a stronger position to make further acquisitions. Its securities are in a tradng halt and last traded at 60 cents.

Mining services provider WorleyParsons says a strong Australian dollar led to a performance below expectations in the first quarter of 2009/10. Its stock dropped $2.32, or eight per cent, to $26.68.

Surfwear group Billabong shares closed down 37 cents, or 3.38 per cent, to $10.58 after it said it was performing slightly ahead of expectations but warned that the strong Australian dollar could drag down 2009/10 profits.

Laboratory and technical services company Campbell Brothers plans to merge with Pearlstreet under an offer valuing the target's shares at $56.33 million.

Pearlstreet shares jumped 19.5 cents, or 35.78 per cent, to 74 per cent while Campbell rose 97 cents, or 3.47 per cent, to $28.91.

At 1637 AEDT, the spot price of gold in Sydney was US$1,041.40 per fine ounce, down US$13.67 from Monday's closing price of US$1,055.07.

Domestic gold stocks were lower. Lihir lost 13 cents, or 4.04 per cent, to $3.09, Newcrest Mining was $1.09, or 3.11 per cent, lower at $33.97, while Newmont Mining had shed 19 cents, or 3.89 per cent, to $4.70.

The most traded stock by volume was drug delivery company OBJ with 256.9 million shares worth almost $7 million changing hands.

OBJ shares had declined 0.4 cents, or 15.38 per cent, to 2.2 cents.

Preliminary market turnover was 3.25 billion shares worth $6.1 billion, with 278 stocks up, 895 down and 298 steady.

- AAP