Stock Market Order Types

When trading stocks it is best to know all of the options you have with buying and selling them. While not all order types are supported by all brokerages across all exchanges, if you know them all, you will still be better off.

Market Order

This order type is used to execute a buy or a sell at whatever the current market price is. This is usually the fastest order type to execute. There is a risk however with this order type, because you are not control what price your order will be executed at. The risk is far less with a slow moving stock, but if a fast moving stock jumps 10% during your order’s execution, that could cause some trouble for you.

Limit Order

With the limit order type, you set your price “limit”. Therefore, giving you much more control over the execution price. A buy limit order would only execute at or below your limit price and a sell limit order would only execute at or above you limit price.

Stop or Stop Loss

This order type allows a trader the ability to add to their position if the market rises or to sell shares if the market declines. With buy orders the stop price is above the current market price. A sell stop order is placed below the current market price. Once the price of a stop order is hit the order (a buy or a sell) becomes a market order.

An example being if a stock has gain a lot in a few days and you do not want to sell, but you also do not want to loss out on all the profits. You might place a sell stop loss slightly under the current under the market price. Therefore if the stock continues to rise, you would not miss out and if the stock should fall, you would be able to take some profits.

Stop Limit

A stop limit order is basically the same as a stop loss. However, when it is activated instead of becoming a market order, it becomes a limit order.

Trailing Stop

The trailing stop is a fancy way to have a stop order. That is, instead of having a static stop price, a trailing stop has a dynamic price that adjusts to the current market price of the stock. As with the regular stop order a buy order is above the market price and a sell order is below the market price. A trailing stop to buy would decrease while the stock’s price decreases and remains static as the stock price increases. A trailing stop to sell increases when the stock rises and remains static as the stock falls. When a trailing stop is triggered is become a market order.

Trailing Stop Limit

A trailing stop limit order acts the same normal trailing stop, but when it is triggered it become a limit order.

Sell Short

When you sell short you are betting the the stock with fall in price. What happens when you sell short is you are borrowing the stock a its current market price and immediately selling it. Also, you are agreeing to buy it back (Buy to Cover) at a later date hopefull at a cheaper price.

The SEC only allows for selling short to occur on an uptick or a zero-plus-tick. Therefore, you cannot sell short a stock that is in the process of plummeting.

Buy to Cover

After selling short, you must then agree to “buy to cover” your borrowed shares. Therefore, buy back the shares you borrowed and return them to the market.

Order Fill Amounts

All or None (AON) – If a trader was to specific an order as All or None, that would tell the brokerage to only fill their order if you can buy the full amount of shares desired. Therefore, if an buy limit order for 1000 shares of MSFT at 25 was entered and there were only 900 shares available before the price increased, the order would not be filled.

Order Durations

These are two of the most common order durations.

Day Order – An order that lasts until the market close
GTC Order (Good ‘Til Cancelled) – An order that lasts until the trader cancels it.

Stock Trading

  1. Stock Market Order Types
  2. Reading Stock Quotes
  3. Level II Quotes
  4. Market Makers

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