Australian shares are falling

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Australian shares slipped hard in early trade.

The ASX 200 fell below the key mark of 5400 points. A short time ago, the index was at 5,375.10, down 56.32 points or 1.04%.

The major banks and the big miners followed Wall Street’s fall with the S&P 500 closing down 0.9% overnight.

Westpac was down 1.8% to $29.80 and the Commonwealth 1.5% to $72.28.

Rio Tinto dropped 1.7% to $49.50 and BHP almost 1.5% to $21.23.