Draghi drags bourse down

AUSTRALIAN investors wiped more than 1 per cent from the sharemarket after a heavy sell-off in Europe after the European Central Bank failed to deliver a knock-out blow to the region's banking crisis.

AUSTRALIAN investors wiped more than 1 per cent from the sharemarket after a heavy sell-off in Europe after the European Central Bank failed to deliver a knock-out blow to the region's banking crisis.

Shares and bond prices fell sharply in Europe after the ECB president, Mario Draghi, failed to reassure investors at Thursday's ECB policy meeting that he was ready to act immediately to support the region's economies, and keep the euro from breaking up.

A week after Dr Draghi suggested European officials would do "whatever it takes", his decision not to intervene directly in the European bond market sparked heavy losses.

European stocks tumbled 3 per cent, and US stocks fell the most in a month, with the Dow down 92 points, as bond yields soared in Italy and Spain. The "watch and see" approach had left the market in limbo when many people had been hoping for a concrete bond buying program to reduce borrowing costs in Spain and Italy.

In Australia, the local sharemarket dropped 1.1 per cent, dragged down by big losses in the mining sector.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index dropped 48.0 points, or 1.1 per cent, at 4221.5, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 47.1 points, or 1.1 per cent, at 4243.

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