Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) Codes

Submitted by Sharemarket News on 20 May, 2011 - 13:22

Learn about ASX codes.

For convenience, all companies and everything traded on the Australian Securities Exchange have a code identifier. These codes are displayed on ticker boards instead of the full company name. For example, BHP stands for BHP Billiton.

Some traders would say that the minimum requirement for trading the ASX is knowing the stock or company's 3-letter code. Throughout the trading process, it's easier to track instruments with a code. You will usually see 3-character codes, but codes can vary in length depending on the type of instrument.

A rule of thumb: 3-letter codes indicate ordinary shares; more than three letters identify uncommon shares in the company. Uncommon means there is something different about the instrument that is not found in majority of other market instruments.

Most companies listed on the ASX have three character codes. A-REITS (Australian Real Estate Investment Trusts), investment companies, and infrastructure and conventional exchange traded funds also take the three-character code.

ASX Special Market Codes

The arrangement of letters in a code also mean something.

  • Company-issued options usually take a longer code. For example, Woolworths, which takes the code WOW, can have WOWO as its option code and WOWR as its rights code.
  • Instalment receipts issued by a company also take a different code. Telstra has a stock code of TLS, but during its capital raising through instalment receipts, the company traded as TLSCA.
  • During a shares split, ASX may trade on a deferred settlement basis and would take the identifier ASXDA. Partially paid securities also take an additional character "C", that is ASXCA.
  • Interest rate securities are identified by a 4-6 character code. In addition to the 3 character-identifier, the type of security is tacked on as a letter. H stands for unsecured note and P stands for preference share. For example, Woolworths can issue its first unsecured note with the identifier WOWHA.
  • Standard exchange traded funds (ETF) use a 3-character code while exchange traded commodities over precious metals use a 4-6 character code.
  • Derivatives like exchange traded options have a unique 5 to 6-character ASX code. Usually the prefix is the three-character code of the underlying asset. For example, WOWXJ identifies an option for Woolworths (WOW) shares. Warrants also use the underlying asset code as a prefix, then add additional characters for the warrant type and warrant issuer. Call warrants take letters A to O, while put warrants take M to Z.
  • Futures can take a 2-3 character underlying code and a contract code (usually the month of expiry for the futures contract).
  • Share price indices take 3-character codes. The Standard & Poor ASX 200 index (S&P/ASX 200) is known as XJO. XJO is the prefix used for all exchange traded options and warrants in this particular index.