Aust stocks open lower

Local market loses 0.5% in early trade following soft Wall Street leads.

The Australian sharemarket opened half a per cent lower after falls on Wall Street as Eastern Europe tensions escalate with Russian troops seizing Ukrainian ships and military installations in Crimea.

At the 10.15am (AEDT) official market open, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 27.2 points, or 0.51%, to 5,319.7, while the broader All Ordinaries Index lost 26.8 points, or 0.5%, to 5335.3 points.

In local economic news on Tuesday, Reserve Bank of Australia deputy governor Philip Lowe is slated to give a speech at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) holds its Annual Forum.

The Australian market on Monday posted modest gains, overcoming early falls and weaker-than-expected Chinese economic data.

Chinese manufacturing data showed activity contracted in March to its weakest rate in eight months, with the HSBC's preliminary purchasing managers' index (PMI) falling to 48.1. It is the latest indication that the world's number two economy, and key Australian trading partner, is slowing down.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 8.8 points, or 0.16%, to 5,346.9.

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