Midday: ASX plunges 2% in morning trade

Market Reports


Following negative leads from the US and Europe and significantly weaker commodity prices the ASX plunged on open and is trading 1.8 per cent down at noon.
 
BHP Billiton shares continue to drag and have crashed below the $20.00 mark in morning trade. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 92 points down at 5,034. On the futures market the SPI 99 points lower. 
 
Company news
 
Data#3 Limited (ASX:DTL) has updated its profit guidance saying it now expexts first half profit in the range of $5.5 to $6.5 million, well above last years result of $5.2 million. Shares in Data 3 is trading 2.83 per cent lower at $1.03.
 
Regional Express Holdings (ASX:REX) say they have won selection from the WA government as preferred tenderer for the Perth-Albany and Perth-Experance air routes. A new five year contract will start in February next year. Shares in Regional Express last traded flat at $0.91. 
 
Best and worst performers

All sectors are down in morning trade, the sector with the least losses is real estate investment trusts, down 0.6 per cent to 1,237. Shares in Mirvac Group have risen 0.28 per cent and are trading at $1.77. Shares in Scentre Group and Stockland are down. 
 
The worst performing sector is energy, falling 3.7 per cent to 8,069. Shares in Santos have fallen 8.14 per cent, trading at $3.95. Shares in Drillsearch and AWE are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,085 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 71.32 US cents.