Midday: Aus shares tumble 1.95% at noon

Market Reports

Following negative leads from Wall Street on Friday, the Australian share market has had a dismal start to the trading week, taking a nose-dive at the open and now tracking 1.95 per cent lower at noon. All sectors are in negative territory, but after another tumble in commodity prices overnight, BHP and Rio Tinto are proving to be the heaviest weight on the market. No relief for the financials space either with losses in all the big banks, CBA in particular. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 98 points lower at 4,893. On the futures market the SPI is 87 points lower. 
 
Company news

Mesoblast Limited (ASX:MSB) has announced that the size of its ongoing Phase 3 trial in chronic heart failure of its proporetary cell-based medicine MPC-150-IM is planned to be substantially reduced following communications between the company and the FDA. The company says the reduction in size of the Phase 3 trial may significantly shorten the time to trial completion. Shares in Mesoblast are trading 2.58 per cent lower at $1.70. 
 
Lithium Australia NL (ASX:LIT) has advised it is set to secure $6 million in funding through a placement to institutional, professional and sophisticated investors at 14 cents per share. Funds from the placement will be used to expedite the company’s lithium strategy and advance projects in 2016. Shares in Lithium Australia are trading up 3.13 per cent at $0.17. 
 
Best and worst performers

All sectors are in the red, but the sector with the least losses is Telcos, losing 0.7 per cent to 1,899. Shares in M2 Group have lost 0.37 per cent and trading at $10.68. Shares in Telstra and Vocus are also weaker. 
 
The worst performing sector is Materials, falling 3.2 per cent to 6,354. Shares in Fortescue Metals have fallen 5.51 per cent, trading at $1.63. Shares in Sims Metal Management and BHP are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,107 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.6945.