Midday: Aus shares track 1.99% lower at noon

Market Reports

Following dismal leads from US markets and a disappointing result from the European Central Bank, the Australian share market opened well into negative territory this morning and continues to tumble, tracking 1.99 per cent lower at noon. ECB President Mario Draghi failed to live up to investor expectations after he decided to keep the bank’s 60 billion Euro QE program going until March 2017 and to cut interest rates to minus 0.3 per cent. 
 
While commodities such as gold and oil enjoyed a small bounce overnight, the price of iron ore slumped once again, resulting in the big miners dragging down the index even further. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 104 points lower at 5,124. On the futures market the SPI is 106 points lower. 
 
Company news

Rent.com.au Limited (ASX:RNT), recorded more than half a million unique visitors to the website last month, the second consecutive month it has registered audience members in excess of its target. The company says it’s pleased it maintained key user engagement in a time typically characterised by a downturn in national audience members. Shares in Rent.com.au are trading down 7.29 per cent at 45 cents. 
 
Select Harvests Limited (ASX:SHV) has announced that the Victorian and Federal governments have granted $1.5 million towards the construction of a Biomass Electricity Co-generation Plant and Value-added almond production line. The grant is being provided through the Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program Victoria to Select Harvests, which is contributing $19 million. Shares in Select Harvests are trading down 2.44 per cent at $8.79. 
  
Best and worst performers

All sectors are in the red, but the one with the least losses is Staples, losing 0.9 per cent to 8,266. Shares in Treasury Wines have risen 0.38 per cent and trading at $7.90. Shares in Woolworths and Asaleo Care are lower. 
 
The worst performing sector is Financials excluding REITs, falling 2.4 per cent to 6,963. Shares in Magellan Financial have fallen 7.04 per cent, trading at $24.78. Shares in Henderson Group and ASX are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,065 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 73.42 US cents.