Share ownership still rising

Australians' interest in shares is increasing steadily and investors are becoming more savvy, according to a new stock exchange survey. Share ownership among retail investors increased to 51 per cent in 2003, up from 50 per cent in 2002. Men continue to outnumber women at 44 per cent and 35 per cent respectively. Direct share ownership is at 39 per cent with sahres held through DIY superannuation or managed funds lifting the overall level to one in two of the population. Direct share ownership is more common among the more highly educated, higher income groups and among the 35 to 54 age group. More investors now gain information on the stockmarket from financial newspapers than from brokers: 46 per cent compared with 24 per cent. Fewer investors get their information from TV programs or financial planners. NSW has the highest level of direct share ownership at 43 per cent. Nationally, there are seven stocks in a portfolio on average, worth $40,800. The value of trades is now about $10,650.