The Australian sharemarket has opened deep in the red, following significant falls on Wall Street overnight as investors weighed soft Chinese trade data and a shift away from high-growth tech and biotech stocks.
At the 10.15am (AEST) official market open, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index declined 46.6 points, or 0.85%, to 5,434.2, while the broader All Ordinaries index lost 49.1 points, or 0.9%, at 5,428.4.
IG markets strategist Chris Weston said the sell off in the US was driven by a plunge in tech stocks, which have fallen out of favour after years of strong gains.
The Nasdaq closed down 3.10% in its worst performance since November 2011.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 1.62% while the broad-based S&P 500 fell 2.09%.He said the weakness in the US was pushing global markets lower.
"These are crazy markets right now," he said.
The sell-off came on a day when Chinese trade data disappointed and suggested more weakness in the world's second-biggest economy.
Tokyo stocks also followed the lead of US stocks, with the Nikkei 225 index losing 2.88%, or 411.32 points, to 13,888.80 points in the first few minutes of trade.
"Global markets are coming off hard, the Japanese market is getting smashed today, our market is down pretty heavily, the US market closed near its lows," Mr Lucas said.
On the local bourse, IT and healthcare stocks followed Wall Street's lead, with tech index falling 1.71%, and the healthcare index losing 1.39%.
Australia's largest biotech company CSL dropped 1.76% to $68.435 at the open.
Materials also declined, to the collective tune of 1.10%, led by moderate declines from the major miners.