Australian stocks are lower at noon, with all the major sectors falling amid broad-based selling.
The local market opened lower as investors took their cues from a weak finish on Wall Street after US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke suggested the central bank may soon ease its stimulatory measures.
Australian stocks extended those early falls to be more than 1.5 per cent lower at noon.
RBS Morgans private client adviser Bill Bishop said it was an across-the-board decline, with the banks among the worst hit.
"It is looking a bit sad today," Mr Bishop said.
"The financials have taken the brunt of it."
The big four retail banks all had posted declines of more than one per cent by noon.
ANZ had fallen 90 cents to $28.41, CBA was off $1.23 at $70.47, NAB had backpedalled 68 cents to $32.03 and Westpac was $1.04 lower at $30.15.
The major miners were also in negative territory. BHP had slipped 34 cents to $34.93 and Rio was down 82 cents at $55.48.
The telecoms and gold sectors were down 2.56 per cent and 2.87 per cent, respectively.
Making news on Thursday, James Hardie reported a 92 per cent decline in full year net profit as changes to its asbestos liabilities and the impact of legal battles with the tax office hit the building products maker's bottom line.
James Hardie was down seven cents at $10.38.
Telstra shares were down 12 cents at $5.02 after the company, on Wednesday, unveiled a restructure of its internal operations.
* At 1210 AEST, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 81.1 points, or 1.57 per cent, at 5,084.3 points.
* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 80.3 points, or 1.56 per cent, at 5,061.8 points.
* The June share price index futures contract was down 83 points at 5,088 points, on volume of 20,819 contracts.
* National turnover was 805.7 million securities worth $2.2 billion.
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