The Australian stock market actually goes by a different name. It is the official stock market of Australia. It used to simply be called the “Australian Stock Exchange” and while that’s no longer the case, it is still the Australian stock exchange. So, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about the market that carries the “ASX” symbol and helps to prop up the economies of Asia and the world.
Australian Stock Market
You might not consider the Australian stock market or even the Australian economy to be one of the biggest in the world. But if that list stretched to the top 20 then it would be there. That’s because, contrary to what you might think, Australia has an incredibly strong economy. Its relations with the UK and the US have helped with this, as has its unique landscape.
It is a young country, but the Australian stock exchange is listed 15th on a list of the richest stock markets in the world, and the country has the 13th highest GDP in the world. This means it is just behind Russia and is ahead of financial giants like Switzerland and Taiwan; oil-rich Saudi Arabia, UAE and Iran; and resource-rich Spain and Turkey.
Australian Stock Market Basics
The Australian stock market is the center of the Australian economy. This is where the wealth management of the nation takes place, where it’s biggest entrepreneurs rise and fall and where the beating heart of the nation’s economy exists.
The main market in this country goes by the name “Australian Securities Exchange”, but prior to 2006 it was actually known as the Australian Stock Exchange. Outside of Australia is also goes by the name “Sydney Stock Exchange”, based on its location in the country’s richest city. But it actually acquired the Sydney Futures Exchange over a decade ago and the city doesn’t take any part of its official name.
Australian Stock Market Size and Wealth
As mentioned above, the Australian stock market is now better known as the Australian Securities Exchange, or as ASX Limited. It uses the symbol ASX and it has a market cap of over $1,600 billion. This means that it is below both of the Indian stock markets, but it is ahead of many of the world’s largest exchanges, including ones in South Korea, Spain and Sao Paulo.
Of course, this Australian stock market is a long way from the likes of the London Stock Exchange or the NYSE. In fact, its market cap is around 15 times smaller than the NYSE and around 5 times smaller than the LSE. But for a country of its size and wealth, it sits in a very respectable position on a list of the world’s biggest stock exchanges.
There is a daily turnover of more than $4,680 AUS dollars on this Australian stock exchange, with over 2,000 companies listed in total.
Australian Indices and More
On the Australian stock market you will find all of the following for trade:
- Exchange Traded Options
- Real Estate Investment Trusts
- Interest Rate Securities
The major index on the Australian Securities Exchange is the S&P/ASX 200, which consists of the 200 biggest companies on the ASX. There are also similar indices that cover the 100 and 50 top companies, known as the S&P/ASX 100 and the S&P/ASX 50 respectively.
History of the Australian Stock Market
The history of the Australian stock market goes back nearly 200 years, to when this was a British colony. Back then there were half a dozen different exchanges, all setup in major areas throughout the country. There were exchanges in: Tasmania, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales.
It wasn’t until 1937 that the Australian Associated Stock Exchanges, or the AASE, was established to oversee all of these individual markets. This association had members from each of the exchanges, who began to create a uniformed set of rules and regulations that would apply to all of the exchanges.
In the late 1980s the ASX was born under the name Australian Stock Exchange Limited. It was a combination of all previous exchanges and it became the first exchange in the world to have its own shares listed on its own market.
In later years the Australian Stock Exchange would switch to the Australian Securities Exchange, while adding extra trading options and features to become the globally renowned stock exchange that it is today.
Companies on the Australian Stock Market
So, which companies trade on the Australian Securities Exchange? Or rather, which are the biggest companies on this exchange?
Well, as you might suspect we tend to stick with the big names here on Buy Shares In and because many of our readers are in the US and UK, it’s always the big companies in those countries that we write about. But there are certainly some giants Down Under that we have covered in the past, as well as ones that will be covered in the future.
- BHP (ASX: BHP): This is an Anglo-Australian multinational company that specializes in mining and can also be found on half a dozen other stock markets. It serves the globe and has a revenue in the tens of billions, but this is an Aussie company through and through.
- WestPac (ASX:WBC): This is another company that can be found on multiple exchanges but has found a home in Australia. It is an Australian financial institution that serves over 13 million customers out of nearly 4,000 ATM machines and 1,500 branches. It’s vast, which is why it has a revenue that surpasses $20 billion AUS.
- Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO): This is both British and Australian, with a history dating back nearly 150 years and a revenue that reaches beyond $30 billion Australian dollars. They are one of the largest mining and metal corporations in the world, dealing with all kinds of valuable commodities that ensures it remains on the main trading indices of both the Australian stock market and the UK stock market.