Aust stocks close sharply lower

Local market drops over 1.3% as US Fed warns stimulus must end, Chinese markets fall and local data fails to impress.

The Australian stock market has fallen one and a half per cent after Chinese markets fell, local data failed to impress and a senior United States Federal Reserve official warned its stimulus program could not continue forever.

At the 1615 AEDT official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 1.37% to 5,319.2 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index declined 1.29% to 5,317.5 points.

Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher said in an interview with CNBC that "at some point, we will have to taper back on the pace of purchases", leading to falls on Wall Street overnight.

IG analyst Chris Weston said falls in Chinese markets had also dragged markets around Asia lower.

"Markets have seen the Third Plenary report summary and from all accounts like what they have seen, but simply want more meat to sink their teeth into," Mr Weston said.

"The falls in China have certainly done nothing to appease sentiment in the region.

"The price action in the ASX is looking more and more lethargic by the day and the buyers seem to be lacking any real impetus to push up prices, despite a number of good company earnings reports out today."

In local news, ABS data showed wage price growth slowed, falling short of expectations, while the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index showed although consumer sentiment lifted, so did worries about job security. 

Financials lost ground, with the big four banks weighing on the market.

ANZ fell 2.09% to $31.44 and Commonwealth Bank shed 2.28% to $76.31.

National Australia Bank slipped 2.46% to $33.65, and Westpac dropped 1.77% to $32.27.

Investment bank Macquarie Group lost 1.08 per cent to $53.34.

In insurance, IAG fell 1.81 per cent to $5.98, Suncorp lost 0.98 per cent to $13.10, and QBE slid 0.33 per cent to $15.28.

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