Aust stocks close slightly lower

The Australian sharemarket closed slightly lower today.

The Australian sharemarket closed slightly lower today as global investors sold stocks on high earnings multiples following sharp losses for technology stocks in United States trade.

At the 4.15pm (AEST) official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 9.1 points, or 0.17% weaker, at 5,413.7 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 12.5 points, or 0.23%, at 5,416.1 points.

CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said investors were focused on defensive stocks today, with volatility on the rise.

"Dramatic losses in tech and bio-med stocks in US trading have reminded local investors of the dangers of stocks on high earnings multiples," Mr McCarthy said.

"IT companies Xero and iProperty are down 8-10%, and the sector is off more than 1%."

The falls extended to internet-based consumer stocks, with REA Group losing more than 5%, he said.

"The weakness in former market darlings is offset by an appetite for the dour and reliable."

Materials were mostly higher.

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