UBS has slashed its stake in Qantas

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Investment bank UBS has cut its holding in Qantas, selling slightly more than 1% of its stake for about $72.8 million.

The bank, which just a month ago buying Qantas shares, now has 5.93% of the national airline, down from 7.01%.

A short time ago, Qantas shares were down 1.3% to $3.35, ahead of the year low of $2.99, but well down on the high of $4.22.

UBS, whose analysts early last year were among the first to forecast Qantas’ return to profitability, told the market today it sold 21.6 million shares on May 12 when Qantas closed at $3.37.

The airline market has been hit by weaker than expected customer demand. Qantas last month cut its capacity growth forecasts after seat demand began to ease over Easter.

Qantas says this softness in demand is related to the federal election and a drop in consumer confidence.

Virgin Australia also has cut its capacity forecasts.

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