The Australian share market is sharply lower in early trade, following losses on US and European markets overnight. Investors appear to be shying away from risk ahead of the upcoming Greek elections, which could determine if the country remains in the Eurozone. At lunchtime in the East, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is down 27.4pts or 0.7pct to 4084.1.
A man stands next to a globe displaying international stock prices at the London Stock Exchange.
Energy and mining stocks are doing most of the damage, in response to weakness on the commodities front. The oil price fell once again overnight, to under US$83 a barrel. The S&P/ASX 200 Energy sector (XEJ) is down 1.4pct while the materials sector is off 1.2pct.
Financial stocks are also showing signs of weakness, with shares in Macquarie Group (MQG) lower by 1.8pct to $25.33.
Some stocks have showed resistance to the sell-off, with defensive player Telstra (TLS) steady at $3.61 and retailers David Jones (DJS) and Myer (MYR) stronger.
The Australian dollar briefly touched parity with the greenback overnight but a lack of direction from any local economic data has seen the currency pull back a little. At 12pm AEST the Aussie is worth US99.41c, £0.6408 and €79.14c.
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