Australian shares were hammered

Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

Australian stocks fell hard.

The ASX 200 at one stage dropped through the key 5000 point level before recovering. At the close, the index was at 5,004.50, down 79.71 points or 1.57%.

Bank shares dragged the rest of the market down.

The ANZ bank, which last week warned of more bad debt from resource-related loans, was down 3.4% to $23.20.

Westpac lost almost 3% to $29.93, the Commonwealth 2.2% to $73.12 and NAB 2.4% to $25.62.

Chris Weston at IG says volume is 40% below the 30-day average.

“Last week I noted the range the ASX 200 had been in throughout March and was keen to see how price reacted on a break,” he said in a note to clients.

“Banks have been at the heart of the selling again and the prospect of further downside seems high.”

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at