Australian Stock Exchange

Financial Dictionary -> Investing -> Australian Stock Exchange

Located in Sydney, Australia, the Australian Stock Exchange (or now more accurately the Australian "Securities" Exchange - ASX) is the leading stock market exchange in Australia and around the 8th largest in the world, having 2014 listed company stocks and a total market cap of $1.098 trillion US Dollar equivalent. In a rare occurrence the ASX itself is a public company and is listed on its own exchange, with revenue of around $624.38 million as of 2008 data. Although it is still commonly called the Australian Stock Exchange, it merged with the Sydney Futures Exchange in 2006, and thus the name was changed to its current form.

Historically the ASX began life as several different exchanges located in Melbourne, Sydney, Hobart, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Launceston; however they began to merge operations as early as 1903. A traditionally trading floor and 'outcry' method was used, with trades being written on a chalk board.

Today the ASX operates under a fully electronic system to keep up with modern demand, taking on the click system in 1997. Trading hours on the exchange begin at 7:00 am to 10:00 am for a pre market session and then from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm for the regular trading session. The exchange operates only on weekdays and ceases operation during pre-announced holiday periods.

The prominent market index that tracks the Australian Securities Exchange is the S&P ASX 200, which ranks the top 200 high cap companies. Like most major indexes the S&P ASX 200 is used as a benchmark for the whole Australian market as is the primary quoted figure by news outlets and analysts.

Some of the larger cap companies that trade on the ASX include the BHP Billiton, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the National Australia Bank and the Telstra Corporation.