Share volumes still going strong

The Australian Stock Exchange recorded its busiest October ever last month, despite terrorist attacks and a volatile US market. The average daily trade total in October was 51,258 – a record compared with previous Octobers, though down almost 1 per cent on September. The total value of October 2002 trades reached an average of $2 billion, a 14 per cent increase on October 2001.

Option turnover also reached a new record this October, with daily contracts volume rising to 73,556, up from 72,332 in September. Options market accounts at the derivatives clearing house also rose, from 76,000 in September to 77,600 in October.

ASX spokesman Gervase Green said both retail and institutional investors had driven the healthy trading in October. Not even during 2000's dotcom boom did trading reach more than $1.6 billion a day, he stated. The ASX is also encouraged by the options market's higher trading levels. It's viewed by retail investors as a new source of revenue, Mr Greene said, not just as a hedge against market volatility.