Australian shares fell on Thursday, snapping a four-day winning streak, led by commodities and technology stocks amid fresh COVID-19 curbs in China, while investors maintained a cautious stance ahead of key U.S. inflation print due later in the day.

The S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 0.5% to 6964.0 at the close of trade. The benchmark closed 0.6% higher on Wednesday.

The broader Australian market tracked Wall Street lower as investors focused on the upcoming inflation data that could provide clues on the U.S. Federal Reserve's rate-hike trajectory.

"We'd need to see a much lower inflation print before being able to say with confidence that the big hikes are truly behind us," said Matthew Simpson, a senior market analyst with City Index.

To recall, in the 12 months through September, the U.S. consumer price index (CPI) increased 8.2% after rising 8.3% in August.

"The bigger risk here is that CPI could surprise to the upside today – and that will see expectations rise once more for a 75bp Fed hike," added Simpson.

A top Australian central banker said they might be able to pause raising domestic interest rates soon, but more evidence was needed that demand was slowing as desired.

Energy stocks fell 2.1%, following a dip in oil prices, on concerns that fresh COVID-19 restrictions in China will impact fuel demand.

Heavyweights Woodside Energy and Santos fell 2.2% and 1.6%, respectively.

Shares of Origin Energy jumped 34.8% after the country's no.2 power producer and energy retailer received a buyout offer from a consortium, valuing it at $11.83 billion.

Mining fell 1.3% after iron ore prices slumped on demand woes from top consumer China, with heavyweights BHP Group , Rio Tinto, and Fortescue Metals Group falling between 0.5% and 2.2%.

Tech stocks tracked sharp overnight losses on Wall Street to drop 1.9%.

ASX-listed shares of Block Inc plunged to close 6.2% lower.

Financials fell 0.9% with the "Big Four" banks losing between 0.3% and 2.2%.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slipped 0.5% to finish the session lower at 11,091.93 points. (Reporting by Echha Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)