The Australian market fell sharply today, following a collective retreat on international markets overnight.
In economic news, building approvals edged higher by 0.9% month-on-month in February. This was well below analyst expectations of a 2.1% increase.
Also, private capital expenditure fell in the December quarter by 0.3%, compared to economist expectations of a 3.5% gain.
The fall in expenditure compared to a 14.6% rise in the September quarter, which was the biggest in 15 years.
Most sectors closed heavily in the red, with the exception being IT and consumer staples.
The big four were weaker on the day, but only ANZ (-1.2%) performed worse than the market.
The mining majors were a big drag on the market after massive falls in commodity prices. BHP dropped 1.5% whilst rival Rio Tinto 1.8%.
Saracen Minerals was one of worst performers, slumping 11%. The miner was not helped by a 5% crash in gold prices overnight.
The ASX 200 sank 43 points (-1%), to close at 4256.