Australian shares are falling

Phil Walter/Getty Images

Australian stocks were hit hard in early trade.

The ASX 200 dropped below the 5400 mark. A short time ago, the index was at 5,365.40, down 58.85 points or 1.08%

Falling commodity prices dragged on the big miners and the banks followed the slide.

BHP had lost 2% to $20.07, Woodside Petroleum 2% to $27.88 and Rio Tinto 1.3% to $47.52.

The ANZ bank was down 1.9% to $26.86 and the Commonwealth 1.1% to $71.71.

Woolworths, trading ex-dividend, had lost 3% to $23.35.

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