The ASX200 is sliding at the open following a weak lead from US stocks, which were sold off into the close to finish more than 1% lower.
A short time ago, the local index had dipped by around 0.8% — and was back below the 6,000 mark — with falls across all of the major sectors.
The overnight selloff in US capped a wild month of trade which saw the S&P500 fall by 3.9% over February — its worst monthly result since January 2016 — amid concerns about rising interest rates.
Australian stocks had a more measured 0.36% fall in February, but the local index is off to a poor start in March.
Early losses this morning have been driven by larger falls across the resources, materials and energy sectors.
That followed another decline in commodity prices overnight, with iron ore off its recent highs while oil prices dipped by more than 1% for the second straight session.
Among the big miners, Rio Tinto is trading ex-dividend and is down by 4.7% in early trade. A short time ago, BHP was down 1.6% while Fortescue was 2.7% lower.
The ASX200 financials index is around 0.6% lower in early trade, with all of the big banks lower led by ANZ which is down more than 1%.
According to AxiTrader’s Greg McKenna, it could be shaping up as a rough day from a technical standpoint, with the index having already fallen through technical support at 5,994 in early trade.