Aust close more than 1% lower

Local market follows Wall St lower after US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said rates could rise earlier than expected.

The Australian sharemarket closed more than one per cent lower today, following falls on Wall Street after United States Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said interest rates could rise earlier than expected.

At the 4.15pm (AEDT) official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 61.6 points, or 1.15%, to 5,294, while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 60.3 points, or 1.12%, at 5,312.7 points.

IG market strategist Evan Lucas said Dr Yellen's comments on interest rates received more attention than the rest of her testimony, after the central bank said it would continue tapering its stimulus program, as forecast.

"The market spilled on the prospect of rates being raised as early as March 2015, something no-one seem to be positioned for," Mr Lucas said.

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