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ASX flat despite rates pause

ECONOMIC MARKET WRAP
The Aussie sharemarket closed flat on Tuesday despite another rates pause. Picture: NCA Newswire/ Gaye Gerard

The Reserve Bank’s decision to hold rates steady for a third consecutive month – in what was outgoing governor Philip Lowe’s final meeting – failed to lift the Australian share market on Tuesday.

The S & P/ASX 200 was largely flat, falling just 0.06 per cent at the end of trading to close at 7,314.3 points, down 4.5 points.

The broader All Ordinaries suffered a greater loss, falling 0.1 per cent or 8.9 points to 7,516.8 points.

Six of 11 sectors finished in the red, with utilities followed by energy and real estate leading the losses across the benchmark’s mixed session.

As forecast, Australia’s central bank kept the official cash rate steady at 4.1 per cent. It has not raised rates since June.

RBA ECONOMICS COMMITTEE
Soon-to-be ex-boss of the RBA Phil Lowe delivered further rates reprieve when the central bank’s board met on Tuesday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Origin Energy, which traded ex-dividend as of Tuesday, fell 2.9 per cent to $8.38 a share.

Origin Energy is currently in discussions with the NSW government regarding the potential extension of the operational lifespan of the Eraring Power Station. The facility was previously slated to close in 2025, but amid energy shortfalls its lifetime is set to be continued beyond the closure date.

Other shares which traded ex-dividend included Link Administration, Northern Star Resources, Pilbara Minerals and Viva Energy which all fell during the day.

The early exit of embattled Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce saw the airline’s share price wobble when markets opened on Tuesday morning.

Qantas Chief Alan Joyce
Tuesday was outgoing Qantas boss Alan Joyce’s last day at the national carrier after 15 years. Picture NCA NewsWire / Aaron Francis

While Qantas initially rebounded on news that the embattled chief executive would end his 15 year tenure at Qantas two months earlier than planned, shares ultimately closed 0.2 per cent lower at $5.64.

The major banks, with the exception of Westpac, finished slightly higher at the end of trading following news of the cash rate pause. Westpac shares dropped 1.4 per cent to $21.53.

Resources giants BHP and Rio Tinto climbed higher, finishing the day up 0.4 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.

Official GDP figures will be released by the Bureau of Statistics at 11.30am AEST on Wednesday.