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Understanding the sharemarket

Learn the basics and know what to consider when you start trading.


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The sharemarket

A sharemarket (also known as a stock exchange) is a place where you can buy and sell shares in publically-listed companies.

In Australia, you can buy and sell shares on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and Chi-X Australia, which you can access through a stock broker. 

When you buy shares, you become a part owner of the company you invest in. That may give you benefits such as company dividends, and rights such as the ability to vote in company meetings.

As well as companies, the Australian share market allows you to invest in a range of other securities or products including Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), unlisted managed funds (mFunds) and Interest Rate Securities. 

How does a trade work?

1. Place an order

You need to place an order to buy or sell shares. The order will show you how much a purchase will cost you, or how much you'll earn from selling. The prices will also include the brokerage fee.

2. Trade execution

If your order is successful and executes on market, you enter into a contract to exchange the shares for money or vice versa. This exchange is called settlement and happens two business days after the trade in Australia.

3. Settlement

Settlements are recorded and managed by CHESS (Clearing House Electronic Subregister System) in Australia. If you're the buyer, you can pay at settlement with your own money or borrowed money from a margin loan. If you're the seller, the proceeds from the sale will appear in your account at settlement. 

Types of orders


Limit order

A limit order allows you to buy or sell shares at a specified price. A buy limit order can only be executed at the limit price or lower, and a sell limit order can only be executed at the limit price or higher. If the share price doesn't reach your limit, the order will expire without being executed.

Market order

A market order is an order to immediately buy or sell at the best available price. There’s no guarantee the price will stay the same, so the trade price could be different to what you expect.

Conditional order

A conditional order is a customisable order allowing you to dictate certain conditions for an order to be placed to, or removed from, the market.

Share pricing

The prices of individual shares fluctuate depending on the actions of buyers and sellers at any given time. For example:

  • When the demand from buyers is greater than the supply made available by sellers, the share price is likely to rise.
  • When the demand from buyers is weaker than the supply made available by sellers, the share price is likely to fall.

There are many factors that can impact the price of shares, including company-specific performance and broader market factors such as an economic downturn or major political event.

A good way to track share price movements is to open a trading account and start a watchlist of the companies you’re interested in.

Key considerations


  • Direct ownership
    When you buy Australian shares, you become a part-owner of that company. This means you have full shareholder rights, which often include the right to vote and priority access to new stock releases.
  • Diversification
    You can invest in a wide range of listed companies and industry sectors, helping reduce the risk in your portfolio.
  • Capital gains
    Your shares have the potential to provide capital gains. If you buy shares at a certain price and then sell later at a higher price, you can make a profit.
  • Dividends
    If your shares pay dividends, you’ll receive regular payments which are a percentage of company profits in accordance with your shareholding.


  • Market risk
    Shares can drop in value, meaning you will make a loss if you sell your shares for lower than what you purchased them for. 
  • Volatility
    Share prices can vary depending on a range of factors including market, economic and company specific conditions which may result in the value of your investment declining. 
  • Company risk
    If the company you invest in fails or underperforms, you might lose some or all of your money.
  • Dividend risk
    Dividends are not guaranteed and a company may decide to reduce or even stop paying dividends at any time.

How to apply

  1. Apply for an ANZ Share Investing account
  2. Verify your identity
  3. Deposit funds in your account
  4. Start trading!

Details to have handy

  1. Current Australian driver’s licence, and
  2. Australian birth certificate or Australian citizenship certificate, or
  3. Australian passport (current or one that has expired within the last two years) or current foreign passport including the signature page.

Not opening an individual account? Complete the application and we'll let you know what documentation you need to provide.



Why choose us?

  • Flexible trading platforms that let you trade on the go
  • Powerful trading tools, advanced charting and trusted research
  • Trade with your own funds or borrow from ANZ
  • Seamless integration with ANZ Internet Banking and ANZ Investment Lending
  • Immediately trade sale proceeds prior to settlement
  • Earn Qantas Pointsdisclaimer when you trade

Contact us


1300 658 355

Mon-Fri 8.00am to 8.00pm (Sydney time)


Send us an email


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The ANZ Share Investing service is provided by CMC Markets Stockbroking Limited ABN 69 081 002 851 AFSL 246381 (CMC Markets Stockbroking), a Participant of the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX Group), Sydney Stock Exchange (SSX) and Chi-X Australia (Chi-X) at the request of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited ABN 11 005 357 522 (ANZ). Disclosure documents relating to ANZ Share Investing products and services are available on or by calling us on 1300 658 355. ANZ is the issuer of the ANZ Cash Investment Account and ANZ V2 PLUS Account. The obligations of CMC Markets Stockbroking are not guaranteed by ANZ. CMC Markets Stockbroking and ANZ are not representatives of each other.

The ANZ Share Investment Loan is provided by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited ABN 11 005 357 522, AFSL 234527 ("ANZ").

An ANZ Share Investment Loan is subject to investment risks, including possible losses in income, capital invested and additional liability for the loan. We therefore strongly advise you talk to your financial planner, tax adviser and/or stockbroker and ensure you understand the risks, the specific tax implications as well as the legal and financial ramifications of a share investment loan.

ANZ does not give personal advice about the ANZ Share Investment Loan. This information is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. ANZ recommends that you read the ANZ Share Investment Loan Product Disclosure Statement and the ANZ Investment Lending Terms and Conditions which are available at or by calling the Client Services Team on 1800 639 330 between 8.00am and 6.00pm (Sydney time) during ASX trading days before deciding whether to acquire, or to continue to hold the product.

All ANZ Share Investment Loan applications are subject to ANZ’s credit approval criteria. Fees and charges apply and are available here or by calling the Client Services Team on 1800 639 330 between 8.00am and 6.00pm (Sydney time) during ASX trading days.

You must be a member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program in order to earn Qantas Points. A joining fee may apply. Membership and points are subject to the terms and conditions of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program. ANZ Share Investing customers can earn 1 Qantas Point per AU$3 spent on  brokerage fees on shares, ETFs, interest rate securities, warrants and options by providing your Qantas Frequent Flyer number to ANZ Share Investing prior to trading. For shares, ETFs, interest rate securities, warrants and option trades, this offer only applies to trades executed where orders are placed under ANZ Share Investing retail User IDs on ANZ Share Investing retail accounts.

Qantas Points will be calculated based on the brokerage amount on trades involving shares, ETFs, interest rate securities, warrants and options. GST is included, for the purpose of calculating Qantas Points earned. Qantas Points cannot be earned on phone trades, trades placed through IRESS, SMS contract note confirmation fees or hard copy contract note fees, trades executed or fees charged for Off Market Transfers and miscellaneous trading fees which may include stamp duty, transaction fees or exchange related fees. 

Only the User ID under which the order is placed is entitled to earn Qantas Points. To accrue Qantas Points against your User ID, you must have entered your Qantas Frequent Flyer number on the ANZ Share Investing platform prior to placing an order.

Please allow up to 10 business days for your Qantas Points to be credited to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account. 

ANZ Share Investing reserves the right to terminate or vary this offer at any time, without notice.

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