THE AUSTRALIAN SHARE MARKET HAS FALLEN MORE THAN A QUARTER OF A PER CENT, WITH INVESTORS REACTING TO POOR DOMESTIC ECONOMIC DATA.

AFTER OPENING AT A 21 MONTH HIGH THE ASX 200 RETREATED A FIFTH OF A PER CENT

ACROSS THE REGION... MARKETS ARE UP BUT OFF SESSION HIGHS

THE AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR IS BUYING JUST ABOVE 104 US CENTS

ACTIVITY IN AUSTRALIA'S HOUSING CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COOLED CONSIDERABLY DURING DECEMBER.

OFFICIAL SHOW THE NUMBER OF HOMES APPROVED FOR CONSTRUCTION FELL FOUR-POINT-FOUR PERCENT, ON A SEASONALLY ADJUSTED BASIS.

MOST ECONOMSTS HAD TIPPED A RISE.

TWO OTHER KEY INDICATORS ON THE ECONOMY WERE RELEASED TODAY...

NEW FIGURES SHOW INFLATION REMAINS UNDER CONTROL, GIVING THE RESERVE BANK ROOM TO CUT INTEREST RATES WHEN IT MEETS TOMORROW.

INFLATION's AT TWO-AND-A-HALF PERCENT, ACCORDING TO A SURVEY BY T-D SECURITIES.

IT FOUND PRICES FOR CLOTHES AND FURNITURE FELL IN JANUARY ... DUE TO SEASONAL FACTORS LIKE POST-CHRISTMAS SALES AND THE STRONG DOLLAR ... BUT UTILITIES, EDUCATION AND TRANSPORT ROSE.

AND THERE ARE NEW FIGURES TOO ON JOB ADS, SEEN AS A POINTER TO THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE.

ADS IN NEWSPAPERS AND ON THE INTERNET WERE DOWN ALMOST ONE PERCENT LAST MONTH - THE TENTH MONTH OF FALLS.

PETROL PRICES ARE RISING ACROSS AUSTRALIA...

THE AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF PETROLEUM SAYS THE AVERAGE PRICE AT THE BOWSER ROSE BY TWO CENTS A LITRE LAST WEEK.

FOLLOWING ON FROM A SHARP RISE IN THE WHOLESALE PRICE.

PETROL PRICES ARE EXPECTED TO RISE ANOTHER TWO TO THREE CENTS OVER THE NEXT WEEK.