There are a number of working facts about the Australian stock exchange that it might be useful for you to know.
For example, the ASX trades between 10am and 4pm AEST on weekdays.
The market opens in phases during the first ten minutes of trading. There is a random element built into the opening to prevent the exact prediction of the first trades of the day.
The ASX closes between 4.10pm and 4.11pm with a single price auction which is used to determine the closing prices for the day.
Australian stock exchange is dominated by a number of brokerage firms,
as is every other world market. Unsurprisingly, these firms include UBS,
Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and CSFB. Perhaps a little more unusually, the
largest ASX broker is Macquarie Bank (although this is one of the largest Australian banks).
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Ownership of the ASX is believed to be broken down as roughly 30 percent institutional, 30 percent retail and 40 percent foreign.
There are two styles to share ownership. Neither still uses share certificates. Instead they use statements in the style of a bank account. These two types are Issuer sponsored and Broker sponsored. It is possible to switch from one type to the other.
Short selling is permitted but only within quite tight boundaries of both operational rules and available companies. In addition to this, most of the brokers do not offer this facility to private investors.
Some national stock markets are 'heavy' in certain areas or sectors. The ASX is certainly such a market. The high quantities of natural resources 'down under' - things like minerals and metals - gives the market a significant commodities focus. In this way, it is very similar to the Canadian markets.
There will be times when the actual index is impacted significantly by a change in price in gold, oil or perhaps a major mining firm. This might not be all that often, but it is worth thinking about. The index is far more sensitive to these price movements than say Hong Kong would be, where there is a preponderance of financial and property companies listed.
As mentioned elsewhere, the operators and management of the ASX have taken a quite entrepreneurial approach to the exchange. It is now very well connected into the global financial infrastructure and truly is one of the leading exchanges in the world.
It is this access to commodities that helps to make the ASX an unusual market. This is because unlike most other major stock exchanges, in Australia it is also a commodities exchange. In the US, for example, the Dow Jones, NASDAQ and the Chicago Board of Trade are all separate and very different. Not so in Australia... It was in 2006 that the Sydney Futures Exchange merged into the Australian Stock Exchange to form the Australian Securities Exchange.
For more information about the ASX, please visit: