(Adds details, comments, stocks on the move)
SYDNEY, March 13 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell 0.5 percent on Wednesday, with National Australia Bank leading losses in the financial sector though overall market weakness was contained by gains in mining stocks.
"We're seeing pressure across the whole Asia-Pacific region and it appears that the optimism that has buoyed the market over the last few days has started to dissipate," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.
"We did see some negative momentum heading into the close of the US and it appears to have spilled over here."
Financials dragged the market down. National Australia Bank posted the biggest loss, down 2.4 percent, after the bank said it will change its organisational structure, operating model and its group executive team. Westpac Banking Corp. also lost 1.5 percent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 23.7 points to 5,094.5 by 0029 GMT. It closed up 0.6 percent on Tuesday. The market has risen around 10% this year, aided by a relatively strong earnings season and growing optimism about the global economy.
The Australian market was partially hurt by losses in financial stocks on Wall Street overnight. The benchmark S&P 500 stock index snapped a seven-session string of gains as investors pulled back from financials and technology shares.
McCarthy said the market is going through a correction phase in the short term.
"We're likely to see some further falls over the next few days."
Stronger metal prices pushed blue chip miners Rio Tinto Ltd (Xetra: 855018 - news) and BHP Billiton Ltd up 0.6 percent and 0.9 percent respectively, helping to stabilize losses on the benchmark index. Fortescue Metals Group jumped 1.4 percent.
Copper rose to a near two-week high on Tuesday on growing hopes that a recent slide to multi-month lows could encourage physical buying from top consumer China.
Gold rose nearly 1 percent on Tuesday after a top European Central Bank official said the euro zone crisis was not over, but the metal remained vulnerable on continued redemptions in gold-backed exchange-traded funds, analysts said.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index dropped 0.5 percent, or 22.7 points to 4,356.1.
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* iiNet Ltd dropped 1 percent after the company said it is disappointed with the ACCC draft final access determination for wholesale ADSL services.
(Reporting by Michael Sin and Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)