Midday: Aus shares extend losses

Market Reports

The Australian share market followed global markets lower at open and is 0.8 per cent lower at noon as investors continue to lose sleep over the ramifications of a possible economic collapse in Cyprus. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 38 points down at 4,949. On the futures market the SPI is 42 points lower. 
 
Economic news

A surge in commodity prices and the share market rally has helped the Australian economy improve, according to the Westpac-Melbourne Institute leading Index. The Index, indicating the likely pace of economic activity three to nine months in the future, was 3.4 per cent, above its long-term trend of 2.7 per cent.
 
Company news 
 
Infant food developer Clover Corporation Limited (ASX:CLV) has reported a 12.5 per cent increase in its first half sales revenue of $20.2 million. Underlying profit was in line with last year owing to the inclusion of a $0.97 million non-recurring joint venture cost, with strong sales demand expected to continue into the second half. Shares in Clover corporation are trading up 6.36 per cent at $0.58. 
 
Oil and gas explorer Sun Resources NL (ASX:SUR) has concluded an extensive executive search with the appointment of Dr Govert Van Ek as its new Managing Director. With 17 years industry and finance experience, Dr Van Ek will lead the next stage of Sun’s projected growth, replacing current MD Matthew Battrick. Shares in Sun Resources are trading down 5.66 per cent at $0.05. 
  
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Consumer Staples gaining 34 points to 10,073. Shares in Treasury Wine Estates Limited (ASX:TWE) have risen 4.50 per cent and trading at $6.04. Shares in Goodman Fielder Limited (ASX:GFF) and Metcash Limited (ASX:MTS) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is Materials, falling 180 points to 9,801. Shares in Imdex Limited (ASX:IMD) have fallen 5.51 per cent, trading at $1.28. Shares in Atlas Iron Limited (ASX:AGO) and Mount Gibson Iron Limited (ASX:MGX) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,611 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying $US1.036.