The quantity of securities
An order must specify the quantity of shares, options, etc. being ordered. Since 1995, the ASX market has operated on tradable units of 1, meaning that the minimum allowable quantity is 1. The maximum is 999,000,000.
The order quantity is visible to all market participants, with the exception of undisclosed quantities.
The following rules apply to undisclosed quantities:
- Undisclosed quantities are visible only to the broker that placed the order.
- The quantity may be specified as undisclosed if the order consideration is at least $500,000.
- ASX Trade displays ‘/u’ alongside an order whenever there is an undisclosed quantity.
- The quantity may be partially disclosed and partially undisclosed, provided the undisclosed portion has a consideration of at least $500,000.
- The undisclosed quantity always trades first.
- As soon as the consideration for the undisclosed quantity falls below $500,000 the full order quantity becomes disclosed.
- As for all orders, the order price is visible.
If you are trading on-line as a private investor, it is probable you will not have access to the quantities of individual orders. However, you may have access to the amalgamated order quantities in market depth screens. Undisclosed quantities are not included in depth screens.
Example of an order with an undisclosed quantity
Fine Service Broking has a client who wants to sell 1,000,000 JKL at $4.
The client is a funds manager who is simply selling the shares to maintain the balance of their portfolio. They do not want the market to know that such a large quantity is being sold, as other traders may take unfair advantage of the order. To meet the funds manager’s needs, Fine Service Broking enters the order quantity as:
- 100,000 shares disclosed. The market can see that at least 100,000 JKL are being sold.
- 900,000 shares undisclosed, which appears to other market participants as ‘/u’. The market cannot see how many more JKL are being sold, although they do know the value is above $500,000.
On the screen, the order looks like this: