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Investing in the AUS200: what to consider

The AUS200 index was launched in 2000, and is a benchmark index containing the largest companies quoted on the Australian Stock Exchange. Consistently ranking among the top global exchanges, the AUS200 index reflects the importance of natural resources to the Australian economy. Among its members are Alumina Limited, BHP Billiton, Evolution Mining, Fortescue Metals and Rio Tinto.

Who should include the AUS200 in their portfolios?

  1. Traders who believe they have a clear view of the way in which economic and financial factors drive this asset and have seen how this interaction can provide the basis for trading.

  2. Anyone who has studied the periods when the AUS200 and the Australian dollar have fallen under separate influences and believe they can identify when this scenario is likely to strike again.

  3. Day traders. For the fleet-footed trader, the movement back and forth between these two assets can open up intriguing trading opportunities.

What drives the prices in this index?

It is overly complex to break down each component of this major index and determine how each of the companies listed on the index will behave at any given time. Therefore, when looking at what drives the price of this index’s financial instrument, analysts usually consider factors that affect a group of its components or the index as a whole. These factors include:

  1. Financials: the financial sector accounts for nearly a third of the index, with banking firms accounting for half of the top 10 stocks on the index.

  2. Overseas markets: With the decisions of the US Federal Reserve on one side, and the Chinese economy on the other, and the fact that roughly 40% of Australian shares are owned outside of of Australia, economic decisions in those continents can have a profound effect on the local index.

  3. Political turmoil & Government Policies: Following the UK’s ‘Brexit,’ the AUS market dropped 4%. US President Donald Trump and the EU have exchanged trade war threats, which could have an effect on the AUS200 Index as well.

  4. Market data: Numerous reports are released over the course of a single year, such as quarterly data, Price Indices and many others. Each of these reports can impact the AUS200 Index and change people’s perception of it. Since this index reflects current market conditions, it could be influenced by such reports.

A Harbinger of the Australian Economy

Australia has a strong economy, and is home to numerous corporations, giant firms and established mining companies. It is no secret that corporations represent some of the most influential factors in the country and carry great significance for its prosperity and economic well-being. Moreover, since the index is comprised of various stocks, when investments pour into ETFs that track the index, they also affect the stocks themselves, since they become higher in demand.

Since the AUS200 index contains 200 of the largest companies in Australia, it is considered a leading indicator of the overall health and stability of the economy. For this reason, it is often used as a benchmark to measure the economic success of other investment instruments. The term ‘beat the benchmark,’ when used to describe an investment product, often refers to the fact that this specific investment instrument outperformed this index.

History of the AUS 200 Index

The AUS 200 Index was created in part to answer the need of providing a benchmark index to complement the market capitalisation and liquidity demands for equity portfolios. Compared with its international siblings across the oceans, the AUS200 is still in its infancy, having being founded in 2000. The AUS200 index consists of 10 major sectors: Energy, Materials, Industrials, Consumer Discretionary, Consumer Staples, Health Care, Financials, Information Technology, Telecommunication Services and Utilities, and is rebalanced every quarter to assure that the stocks in the index meet the qualification standards. Although there are roughly 200 stocks included in this index, most of them are overshadowed by a small number of large stocks, which account for over 40% of the index, as of 2018. Only stocks traded on a regular basis, are eligible to be on the AUS200, to ensure that the index is liquid.

Conclusion:the AUS200 will remain a major part of Australian finance

Since the AUS200 is an index, it is not a tradable asset; there is no way to invest in it directly. However, various products, such as ETFs, mutual funds and CFDs exist, enabling people to invest in the index. The AUS200 is a well-established part of the Australian financial market and is likely to stay that way.

Many investors choose to invest in products that track it as a long-term option. Its diversified composition, backed by the overall strength of the Australian economy, will most likely help it maintain its status as a benchmark and investment opportunity.

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