ASX reverses fortune as Qantas grilled

The Australian share market has bounced back after recording a six-week low last week not not all compananies are sharing in the good fortune. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Christian Gilles

The Australian share market has bounced back from a six-week low thanks to a boost from retail sales and an offshore rebound.

The S&P/ASX200 closed up Monday by gaining 44.60 points or 0.63 per cent to 7,159.80.

Consumer discretionary was one of the biggest winners on the share market, lifting 1.36 per cent off the back of encouraging retail figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Monday.

Retail sales bounced 0.5 per cent in July led by department stores which grew 3.6 per cent, followed by clothing and footwear which rose 2.0 per cent and other retailing which grew 0.3 per cent.

The S&P/ASX200 closed up Monday by gaining 44.60 points or 0.63 per cent to 7,159.80. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Christian Gilles

There to receive a boost from the new data was top gainer Tabcorp which rose 4.95 per cent to $1.06.

Other lucky beneficiaries included Wesfarmers which rose 2.16 per cent to $52.10 and Aristocrat Leisure which rose 1.40 per cent to $40.52.

The ASX200 also followed good news from overseas, with the S&P500 adding 0.67 per cent after comments from the US Federal Reserve chair that inflation had come down sharply from its 2022 peak.

Meanwhile, Qantas had an eventful day with outgoing chief executive Alan Joyce fronting a Senate select committee on the cost of living in Melbourne.

The airline’s share price dropped by 1.92 per cent on Monday to $6.12 as Mr Joyce faced off with Labor senator Tony Sheldon who accused Qantas of investing “too little, too late” in customer service as the company still has $370m in outstanding travel credits.

Mr Joyce was also forced to defend his remuneration package which Senator Sheldon alleged was $125m over 15 years.

“What I get paid is by the shareholders of Qantas, as per my salary every year, and to relate my salary to how the Qantas share price has performed, and that’s the way every CEO on the ASX works,” Mr Joyce said.

Qantas Chief Alan Joyce
Outgoing Qantas boss Alan Joyce has faced intense questioning over the airline’s recent performance. Picture NCA NewsWire / Aaron Francis. Picture NCA NewsWire / Aaron Francis

Fortescue was also in for a rough day, announcing that chief executive Fiona Hick would leave the company just six months after stepping into the role.

The mining company’s share price dropped 5.06 per cent to $19.87 on the news of Ms Hick’s departure, with Fortescue promoting chief operating officer iron ore Dino Otranto to the top job.

“Fiona Hick has made a joint decision with the Fortescue Board to leave the company and leaves it in very good hands,” the company said in a statement ahead of its annual accounts.

“The departure of Fiona has been both friendly and mutual and we warmly wish her the best for her future.”

Ms Hick is the eleventh senior executive to leave Fortescue in two years, following Felicity Gooding’s departure in July.

The other major miners fared much better in comparison, with BHP increasing its price by 1.23 per cent to $43.55 and Rio Tinto up 0.72 per cent to $108.68.

The major banks also experienced an uplift on the markets today led by NAB which grew 1.33 per cent to $28.26 and Commonwealth Bank which lifted 1.22 to $100.78.

Westpac jumped by 0.28 per cent to $21.38 while ANZ rose 0.99 per cent to $24.58.