About the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)
The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is Australia’s primary securities exchange. Outside of Australia, it is also commonly referred to as the Sydney Stock Exchange. The ASX one of the world’s top sixteen listed exchange groups, with a daily turnover in the region of $5 billion and a market capitalisation of roughly $2 trillion. The ASX’s headquarters are located in Sydney, Australia.
On this page you’ll find a list of the Australian Securities Exchange companies, relevant indices that track the exchange, information about its illustrious history, and the performance of today’s tradable stocks.
The Australian Securities Exchange has been around for over 30 years, with its origins dating back to 1987. It was formed after the Australian Parliament decided to amalgamate six independent state-based stock exchanges that had been established in state capitals. While the Australian Securities Exchange itself is a comparatively recent creation, the six state-based stock exchanges that formed it date back to the nineteenth century: Sydney (1871), Hobart (1882), Melbourne (1884), Brisbane (1884), Adelaide (1887) and Perth (1889).
The first interstate conference between these six separate exchanges was held all the way back in 1901, and after that they met on a relatively informal basis until 1937. In this year, the Australian Associated Stock Exchanges (AASE) was formed with representatives from each state exchange. The AASE went on to create various listing rules, broker rules and commission rates that all of the separate exchanges followed.
Trading on the AASE was generally conducted by a call system. This involved an exchange employee calling out the names of each company, upon which brokers would bid and offer on each. In the 1960s, the call system was switched for a post system, in which “chalkies” would write bids and offers on chalkboards.
In 1976, the Australian Options Market opened, trading call options. Then, by 1980, the previously separate Sydney and Melbourne stock exchange indices joined to form the Australian Stock Exchange Indices – an event that many believe to be the starting point of the modern day Australian Stock Exchange. By 1984, brokers’ commission rates were deregulated, which allowed competition to gradually lower commissions.
This culminated in 1987 with the formation of the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). This event officially took place on 1st April 1987 under legislation of the Australian Parliament. The previous forms of trading (the call system and the post system) were replaced by the Stock Exchange Automated Trading System (SEATS). While this system started with a limited range of stocks being introduced, the number was able to gradually increase until 1990, when trading floors were consequently able to be closed and trading activities moved fully onto the automated system.
The Australian Securities Exchange is tracked by two main indices:
- The ASX 200
- The S&P 500
Both of these indices use different indicators to measure performance.
The ASX 200 follows the market performance of the 200 large companies across Australia based on market capitalisation listed on the ASX. The S&P 500 takes a broader approach by measuring the stock performance of 500 such companies.
There are currently over 2,000 companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. These companies vary significantly when it comes to sectors of the Australian economy and cover areas including energy and utilities, pharmaceuticals, commercial and professional services, energy, materials, diversified financials, media and entertainment, food, beverages, tobacco, software and more.
Perhaps the most notable company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (currently topping the ASX 200) is CSL Ltd, a global biotech leader that researches, develops, manufactures and markets products that help to prevent and treat serious human medical conditions.
The general market capitalisation of the Australian Securities Exchange fluctuates over time. It is currently around $2 trillion.