Australian bank stocks are getting crushed, dragging down the ASX

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The Australian market has been hammered by a sharp fall in bank stocks over fears of increasing bad loans.

The ASX 200 has fallen through 5200 points again and a short time ago, the ASX 200 was at 5,183.90, down 68.32 points or 1.30%.

Westpac led the major four banks on the slide after announcing a weaker than expected first half cash profit of $3.904 billion, up 3%, due to a rise in bad debt provisions.

The shares dropped 5% to $29.47.

The Commonwealth was down 3% to $71.62, the NAB 3.3% to $26.28 and the ANZ 3% to $23.53.

Westpac was the first of three major banks to announce their six monthly results this week.

Analysts expect increasing pressure on bad debt provisions.

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