Australian shares fall, the ASX 200 below 5500

Photo: Cassie Trotter/Getty Images.

Australian shares are taking a battering.

The ASX 200 dropped below 5500. A short time ago, the index was at 5,474.30, down 66.24 points or 1.20%, adding to Tuesday’s 0.84% loss.

The major banks were taking the biggest hit following a rout in Europe overnight sparked by Commerzbank warning about that negative interest rates will cut profits. The European Banking index fell 3.4%.

A short time ago, Westpac had lost 2.15% to $30.18, the Commonwealth 1.5% to $76.38, the NAB 2.18% to $26.01 and the ANZ 1.9% to $25.24.

Among other financial stocks, AMP dropped 1.7% to $5.78 and the Bank of Queensland also 1.7% to $10.20.

However, Genworth Mortgage Insurance was up 6.5% to $3.09 after reporting a 20% improvement in net profit to $135.8 million for the six months to June.

The Seven Group gained 6% to $7.07 on a full year profit of $197.8 million compared to a $359.1 million loss the previous year.

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