Qantas CEO steps down amid mixed ASX performance ahead of Reserve Bank's decision

Qantas CEO steps down amid mixed ASX performance ahead of Reserve Bank's decision

The Australian sharemarket experienced a downturn on Tuesday, as investors anticipated the Reserve Bank's interest rate decision. The S&P/ASX 200 dipped by 40.7 points, or 0.6%, settling at 7278.10 shortly after 11am AEST. The local market was affected by the absence of Wall Street guidance, which was closed due to America's Labor Day holiday.

On the same day, Qantas Airways announced that CEO Alan Joyce would be stepping down from his position two months ahead of schedule, after serving for 15 years. This announcement followed a challenging period for the airline, marked by allegations of improper government influence, anticompetitive practices, and accusations of selling tickets for flights that had already been cancelled.

The news of Joyce's immediate departure led to a brief rise in Qantas shares by 1.2% before settling back to its previous level. Investors are also keeping a close eye on the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), which is expected to maintain its current interest rates in its upcoming decision at 2:30pm AEST.

Meanwhile, sectors such as consumer staples and industrials showed resilience amidst the overall market decline. Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths saw gains of 0.3% and 0.2% respectively, while Endeavour Group added 0.9%. The industrial sector also contributed positively with Transurban's shares increasing by 0.5%, Auckland International Airport adding 1.1%, and Computershare rising by 0.4%.

However, the mining sector weighed heavily on the index with a decline of 0.9%. Lithium, gold and iron ore miners all experienced drops, with Pilbara Minerals falling by 3.8% and Liontown decreasing by 2.3%. Among gold miners, Northern Star fell by 2.9% and Evolution dropped by 2.5%. Market heavyweights such as Fortescue Metals Group (OTC: FSUGY ), BHP Group (NYSE: BHP ), and Rio Tinto (NYSE: RIO ) also saw losses of 1.7%, 0.7%, and 1.2% respectively.

In overseas markets, European shares took center stage due to Wall Street's closure for a holiday. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index remained largely unchanged despite an initial rise of up to 0.8%. Sectors with exposure to China such as consumer goods, travel and leisure, and mining advanced modestly.

The developments come amidst expectations of crude supply cuts from the OPEC+ group that have kept oil futures near nine-month highs and recent data that shows a cooling US labor market which provides room for the Federal Reserve to pause rate increases this month.

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