The Aussie market is underwater heading into the after lunch session, with the XJO currently sitting 25 points (-0.6%) below par, at 4290.
The losses are widespread, with every sector in the red.
Healthcare, energy and IT stocks are the hardest hit, whilst telcos, industrials and materials are the best of a bad bunch.
In economic news, Australian business conditions improved in March as firms became a little more hopeful on the outlook, while lacklustre jobs growth and restrained price pressures still left room for a cut in interest rates.
NAB’s monthly survey of more than 400 firms showed its measure of business conditions rose one point, to four, in March, the highest reading in more than a year and just above the long-run average of the survey.
In company news, Austar United Communication is up 2.5% after the ACCC announced that it won’t oppose pay television company Foxtel’s 1.9 billion Australian dollar takeover bid.
Rio controlled Energy Resources Australia (ERA) is up 1.2% after announcing that expects to produce between 3,200 and 3,700 metric tons of uranium oxide in 2012, tightening previous guidance of between 3,000 and 3,700 tons.
Around the region, Asian markets are mainly weaker; the Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite are off approximately 1% each, whilst the Nikkei is 0.8% stronger.