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The Australian sharemarket is lower at the open.
The West Australian The Australian sharemarket is lower at the open.

The Australian sharemarket looks set to open lower following strong falls on US and European markets overnight amid fears of political turmoil in Spain and Italy.

At 3.30pm, the March share price index futures contract was down 32 points at 4837.

In economic news, the Reserve Bank of Australia holds its first rate meeting for 2013.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is due to release December data for international trade in goods and services and house prices, and the Australian Industry Group/Commonwealth Bank Australian Performance of Services Index for month just ended is due to be released.

In equities news, Cochlear, Primary Health Care and Transurban Group are due to post earnings results.

Yesterday the market closed weaker, with investors unwilling to push the bourse to 5000 points without new good economic news.

At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 13.6 points, or 0.28 per cent weaker at 4907.5, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 12.8 points, or 0.26 per cent, at 4929.1.