Midday: ASX slides below 5000 mark

Market Reports

Following sharply negative leads from overseas markets spooked by falling commodity prices and a potential Fed Reserve rate rise, the Australian share market plunged below the 5,000 mark on open and is currently 1.6 per cent down at noon.  
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 79 points down at 4,951. On the futures market the SPI is 73 points lower. 

Company news
Ashley Services Group Limited (ASX:ASH) says Stewart Cummins will become the new Chief Operating Officer and will train alongside current CEO Ross Shrimpton before assuming the top job in February. Ashley Services Group is trading 2.86 per cent higher at $0.18.
Vicinity Centres ASX:VCX) says it is committed to creating value and sustainable growth. As a result it has identified some asset recycling opportunities it will take subject to market conditions and will use the proceeds mainly to reduce borrowing. Shares in Vicinity Centres are down 0.55 per cent at $2.73. 
Best and worst performers

All sectors are down in morning trade, the sector with the least losses is healthcare, down 0.3 per cent to 19,127. Shares in Resmed have risen 0.78 per cent and trading at $7.71. Shares in Fisher & Paykel and Greencross are also stronger. 
The worst performing sector is energy, falling 2.7 per cent to 7,347. Shares in Liquefied Natural Gas have fallen 8.84 per cent, trading at $0.90. Shares in WorleyParsons and Oilsearch are also lower. 

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,073 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 71.66 US cents.