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FAQs about shares

What are shares?


When you buy shares in a company, you are buying a part of that company. This means you share in the company's performance in the form of profits which can be given to you as dividends and/or capital growth through the value of your shares increasing. Companies generally list on the stock exchange to raise capital for their company and to create a market in the their shares. Companies you invest in benefit by using your money and that of other investors to finance their business or its expansion, without having to borrow money. Visit the ASX Shares page

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Buying and selling shares - how do I do this?


All shares listed on ASX can only be bought or sold through a broker. A stockbroker acts as your agent to buy or sell shares on your behalf, for which a fee is charged. A broker can also provide a range of services including the provision of advice on which shares to buy or sell. Most stockbroking firms require you to provide funds prior to accepting your first order to buy shares. For more information:

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Find a stockbroker?


  • The Find a broker search engine allows you to select the products, services and types of investments you are looking to get from a broker.
  • Important considerations - what do you want to achieve from your investments? setting your investment goals, choosing who to use to buy and sell shares and and questions to ask your broker.
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Share price for a company - where do I find detailed price information?


You can find a company's share price free of charge, by accessing the prices section of the ASX website. All prices shown are delayed by 20 minutes unless stated otherwise in the Conditions. To access up to the minute prices you can contact your stockbroker or call Sharecall. Sharecall provides continually updated share price information by telephone on 1902 961 501and is charged at $1.10 per minute (price inclusive of GST and will cost more from mobile and pay phones). To obtain Sharecall codes, please refer to any Newscorp newspaper.

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Upcoming floats - How do I find out about these?


You can find out about upcoming floats by accessing the floats section of the ASX website. Alternatively, you can contact your stockbroker. You should also check the newspapers or investment magazines, as they often feature articles on upcoming floats.

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Company announcements - how can I follow the activities of ASX listed companies?


Companies listed on ASX are required under the Listing Rules to make announcements about their activities in order to ensure a fully informed market is maintained. Recent and historical company announcements for all ASX Listed Companies are available from the Company announcements section of this site.

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Company reporting dates - when do companies announce their results?


Companies listed on ASX are required under the listing rules to lodge their Half Year Report, Preliminary Final Report and Annual Report with ASX:

  • as soon as available
  • no later than the time the documents are lodged with ASIC; and
  • at the latest by the due dates shown on the company reporting dates calendar.

Half year and Preliminary final reports are due within 2 months of the period ending. The Annual Report is due four months after financial year end.

For additional information, refer to Chapters 4 and 5 of the Listing Rules.

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Historical share price information - where do I find it?


Historical share price graphs are available by accessing the research section of the ASX website.

Historical share prices may also be found on various websites, such as Yahoo and Trading Room. Alternatively, you can purchase historical share prices from an information vendor. To find out more about the services different information vendors offer, visit the ASX Information Source Guide.

ASX can also provide historical share prices for a nominal fee of $10 per company/per date or $50 for a series of four or more dates within one year (price inclusive of GST). To purchase, please see our order form or contact ASX Customer Service on 131 279 (for the cost of a local call from anywhere in Australia). The information you require can be faxed, posted or emailed to you.

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Share registries - How do I find a contact details for a company or its share registry?


Company information, including its share registry contact details can be found in the company research section of the ASX website. You should contact the share registry for activities such as checking your shareholding or changing your mailing details.

, including its share registry contact details can be found in the company research section of the ASX website. You should contact the share registry for activities such as checking your shareholding or changing your mailing details.
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Courses - what investment courses does ASX run?


Learn how to invest in the Australian sharemarket via ASX online courses. We offer classes on Shares, Options, Warrants, CFDs and Futures. They are free of charge and more information on classes can be found in the Education section of this site.

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Exchange rates - where do I find information?


Foreign exchange is not part of the market conducted by ASX. For information on current exchange rates, please contact your local bank, which should also be able to provide you with historical exchange rate information.

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Dividends - what are they?


For many investors a key criteria in selecting a share, is whether the company pays dividends and the size of those dividends. As a shareholder you are entitled to share in the company's profits or earnings. Companies pay dividends from their net earnings and are usually expressed as a number of cents per share. There is no requirement for companies to pay dividends from earnings, some companies might choose to reinvest the earnings back into the business.

Many ASX listed companies pay dividends twice each year, usually as an 'interim' dividend and a 'final' dividend. Companies are not limited to paying twice a year and may pay more or less frequently. A company may also pay a 'special' dividend, related to a particular event. Dividend data is usually available on www.asx.com.au the day after the company has announced the dividend.

A company's share price may move up as the ex dividend date approaches and then fall after the ex dividend date.

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Dividend terms - what is meant by record date, ex dividend, cum dividend and date payable?


Each dividend has a Record Date, ex dividend date and Date Payable. The Record Date is the date a company views its share registry to determine the shareholders who are entitled to receive the current dividend. It is the date where all changes to registration details must be finalised.

The ex dividend (or ex date) occurs four business days before the company's Record Date and is the date the share registry closes to determine which shareholders are registered to receive the dividend. To be entitled to a dividend a shareholder must have purchased shares before the ex dividend date. If you purchase shares on or after that date, the previous owner of the shares (and not you) is entitled to the dividend.

Before the ex dividend date the shares are said to be cum dividend. If you buy shares whilst they are cum dividend you are entitled to the recently announced dividend. The Date Payable is the date on which a company's dividend is paid to shareholders.

Example

 

Record Date Ex-Dividend Date Date Payable Dividend Amount
18/05/2007 14/05/2007 02/07/2007 62c
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Where do I find information on Exchange Rates?


Foreign exchange is not part of the market conducted by ASX. For information on current exchange rates, please contact your local bank, which should also be able to provide you with historical exchange rate information.

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Transferring shares - how can I transfer shares to another member of my family or any other person? i.e. an off-market transfer?


Off-market transfers of securities between parties without using a stockbroking firm as the intermediary are executed through the use of a Transfer Form for Non-Market Transactions(PDF). Off-market transfers of securities held on the CHESS sub-register are effected electronically through CHESS. The form is not required for transfers through CHESS. For this type of transfer you will need to go through your stockbroker.

Off-market transfers are usually private arrangements between family members or transfers from deceased estates. To obtain an 'Australian Standard Transfer Form' please contact the share registry of the company whose shares you wish to transfer. For advice on completing the form please consult your stock broker or financial planner.

There is no stamp duty payable on share transactions throughout Australia.

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GST questions in relation to brokerage?


Following the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in July 2000, stamp duty was abolished. GST will not be imposed on the purchase or sale value of shares bought and sold, as transactions of this nature constitute a financial supply, which is input taxed for GST purposes. However, it is likely that GST will be imposed on brokerage fees associated with such transactions. For more information on the effect on brokerage fees, you should contact your broker.

* PDF documents require Adobe Acrobat Reader

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