The Australian sharemarket has opened lower after expectations the European Central Bank would announce immediate monetary measures to ease the debt crisis failed to bear fruit.
At 8.20am, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 41.3 points, or 0.97 per cent, at 4228.2, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 39.9 points, or 0.93 per cent, at 4250.2.
On the ASX 24, the September share price index futures contract was down 49 points at 4179, with 13,491 contracts traded.
Disappointed stock markets in Europe fell sharply after ECB chief Mario Draghi announced no immediate monetary measures to ease debt pressures in the euro zone.
London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies held up better than most, losing only 0.88 per cent to 5,662.30 points, but Frankfurt’s DAX 30 slumped 2.20 per cent, Paris’s CAC 40 lost 2.68 per cent and, worst hit, Madrid dropped 5.16 per cent.
US stocks slid for the fourth straight day with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 92.18 points, or 0.71 per cent, at 12,878.88.
IG Markets broker Chris Weston said the Australian market followed overseas leads as local investors came to terms with the ECB taking no immediate action.
“We’ve got some repositioning after people built up their expectations on how the ECB would act and, obviously, people are a little bit disappointed by the inaction of the central bank,” he said.
In equities news, BHP Billiton shares fell 49 cents, or 1.53 per cent, to $31.53 after the mining giant announced it would write down the value of its American shale gas assets by $US2.84 billion ($A2.73 billion).
ResMed shares gained after the sleep disorder equipment supplier said its annual profit is up 12 per cent due to stronger revenue in the United States. Its shares were up 22 cents, or 7.28 per cent, to $3.24 at 8.31am.
Oil Search shares dropped after it said is PNG loading operations had been suspended following a minor oil spill more than a week ago. Its shares were down 10 cents, or 1.41 per cent, to $6.97, at 8.32am.
At 8.32am National turnover was 284 million shares worth $609 billion, with 134 up, 385 down and 209 unchanged.