Aust stocks open lower

Local market begins weaker as Ukraine-Russia fears take hold.

The Australian stockmarket opened half a per cent weaker as fresh concerns over tension between Ukraine and Russia overpowered optimism about growth in the United States economy at the end of last week.

At the 1015 AEDT official market open, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 0.5%, to 5,377.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index declined 0.45% to 5,390.8 points.

In local economic news, the Reserve Bank of Australia releases the index of commodity prices for February and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases business indicators for the December quarter.

The ANZ job advertisements series, the TD Securities-Melbourne Institute inflation gauge and Housing Industry Association new home sales for January, are due out.

No major equities news is expected.

In Australia, the market on Friday fell slightly on the last day of the month, but enjoyed growth in February after a solid corporate earnings season.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 6.6 points, or 0.12%, at 5,404.8 points.

The broader All Ordinaries index was down 5.6 points, or 0.1%, at 5,415.4 points.

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