SYDNEY: Australian shares ended lower on Monday ahead of the country’s central bank policy meeting, with investors fearing a sooner-than-expected interest rate hike, while shares of Qantas Airways surged on new jet orders as it seeks to capitalise on the recovery in air travel.
The S&P/ASX 200 index skid 1.2% to 7,347, with all major sub-indexes in the red. The benchmark ended up 1.1% on Friday.
The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to raise interest rates on Tuesday, joining a long list of central banks now expected to tighten policies at a much faster pace than previously thought to tame surging inflation, a Reuters poll found.
“Once the market realizes that central banks can’t be unmovable in their position with raising rates, a lot of money is going to come pouring back,” Smoling Stockbroking Managing Director Brad Smoling said.
Local technology stocks lost 4% to lead losses on the benchmark following Wall Street that tumbled sharply on Friday as US monthly inflation surged the most since 2005. ASX-listed shares of Block fell 2.2% and software maker Xero lost 6.6%.