Aust stocks close 1.4% lower

Local market slips below 5,200 after Qantas shares plunge as airline flags job cuts and warns of first-half loss of up to $300m.

The Australian stock market has lost more than one% after Qantas shares plunged as the airline warned of a first-half loss of up to $300 million and flagged 1000 job cuts.

At the 1615 AEDT official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 1.44% lower at 5,198 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index lost 1.34% to 5,196.9 points.

IG analyst Chris Weston said the market pulled back, with the major talking point today the "monster drop" in Qantas.

The airline said it will make cost reductions across all areas of its business and cut pay for its chief executive officer and board, blaming a marked deterioration in trading conditions in November.

"Airlines are a in a tough space, and when the Australian dollar falls, the appeal of holidaying domestically increases as well," Mr Weston said.

"It's interesting to see that in late November there was $52 million of short interest in this name, and that figure before today's open was closer to $40 million.

"Clearly you'd be fairly upset to have covered shorts prior to today's announcement."

Meanwhile, the October trade deficit widened to $529 million, worse than expectations of $350 million.

Qantas plunged 11.2% to $1.07 after flagging a first-half loss of up to $300 million and 1000 job cuts, falling as low as 99.5 cents in intra-day trade.

Financials were broadly lower, with the big four banks deeply in the red.

ANZ lost 1.79% to $31.19 and Commonwealth Bank fell 1.69% to $75.50.

National Australia Bank lost 2.09% to $33.66 and Westpac shed 2.66% to $31.49.

Investment bank Macquarie Group lost 1.68% to $52.60.

In insurance, IAG retreated 2.84% to $5.81, Suncorp lost 3.25% to $12.50 and QBE fell 1.78% to $15.45.

Telstra fell 1.39% to $4.98.

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