Bid Ask Definition


The difference between these two prices goes to the broker or the specialist that handles the transaction. Traders buy stocks at the bid price and proceed to make those stocks available for the next set of investors. The difference between the bid and ask prices becomes the profit for them.


Let’s look closely into bid and ask prices and respond to some of these questions. Don’t you just love the word “best” as it applies to anything in life? Well, wait until we walk through the best day trading chart patterns, and you will see that sometimes the use of this adjective… Entering in the wrong value in a limit order and when attempting to update the order, the stock has already hit your target level and gone in the desired direction.

When the bid price and ask price are close together, the security has a greater liquidity. It is the gap or the difference between the bid price and the ask price. A higher spread indicates a wide difference between the bid and ask. It is usually difficult to make a profit with a bigger spread. A general rule is smaller the spread, the better the liquidity.


Let’s put theory into practice and look at the bid-ask spreads for various different underlying instruments. Sometimes the market moves the other way and I miss out on getting into the trade. That doesn’t bother me because there will always be other trade opportunities and getting good fills is important. Other times, to ensure a good fill, I’ll leave the buy order at $2.20 and hope that market comes back to my price and I get filled. The bid price is the best price someone is willing to buy the instrument for.

What is Leverage in Trading? – Margin and Risks Explained

The above image is from the time and sales window of Tradingsim. As a trader, you want to monitor the order flow and that’s where the time and sales window comes into play. If you have been trading for any amount of time, you are fully aware of the risks of staring at Level 1, Level 2 and Time and Sales windows all day.


However, the bid and ask are the prices that buyers and sellers would offer. A point to note is that both bid and ask prices are for a particular time. Oftentimes, there is a spread between the bid and ask in the marketplace.

As we all know how much liquidity is important to the smooth functioning of the market. The Bid-Ask spread can be low for hot stocks or bonds and high for the stocks or bonds that are not traded much. The bid-ask spread or spread is the difference between the price that the buyer is willing to pay for a stock and the price the seller is willing to sell the stock for. A bid can be defined as the maximum amount a buyer is willing to pay for specific financial security.

What does Depth of Market (DOM) mean in trading?

Conversely, a sell limit order will only be executed at the limit price or higher. A market order, also called an unrestricted order, is an order that fills at a stock’s current price. It executes immediately which can be a great thing if you need to get in or out of a stock as fast as possible. The bid-ask spread is the price difference between the bid and ask. The term “bid and ask” refers to a two-way price quotation that indicates the best price at which a security can be sold and bought at a given point in time.

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Purchasing at the ask or selling at the bid price is referred to as “paying the spread.” To simply put, you’re paying the market maker fee that we discussed about earlier. Therefore, spread heavy stocks should be considered to be traded with limit orders, while high-volume stocks can be ordered with market orders. A relative volume indicator can help to identify stocks with a high relative volume in comparison to the typical trading volume per day. If a buyer wants to buy 1,000 shares of the company XYZ market, the order gets matches with the best possible seller prices on the ask side of the order book.

Bid and Ask: Definitions, Examples, and Strategies

The‘s width can indeed be determined by liquidity, but it can also be determined by how quickly prices can move. Conversely, a bid-ask spread may be high to unknown, or unpopular securities on a given day. These could include small-cap stocks, which may have lower trading volumes, and a lower level of demand among investors. Most traders prefer to use limit orders instead of market orders; this allows them to choose their own entry points rather than accepting the current market price. There is a cost involved with the bid-ask spread, as two trades are being conducted simultaneously.

  • Likewise, the sale price would be in increasing manner, and the topmost ask price will be shown on the top of the list.
  • It has so many cool features, I could easily double the length of this post.
  • The prevalence of purchases at Bid orders helps build confidence that the asset’s value will rise because this is a sign of buyers’ predominance in the market.
  • And we can see that the bid-ask spread is 2 cents, with the bid at 21.13 and ask at 21.15.
  • Trader interest can build and fade in relation to the amount of hype around the stock.

You can use it to see the order book or queue for any given stock. If there’s low demand and a lot of supply, then the sellers will sell to the buyers on the bid. However, bond quotes are often given in terms of yield rather than price, because the yield tells the expected return on the bond through maturity.

The bid size is the number of shares a buyer is willing to buy at the bid price. The higher the bid size, the more shares traders are willing to buy at that price. Market makers can fill orders between the bid and the ask. One common reason is that a market maker purchases or sells shares between the bid and ask to help maintain liquidity. If the price moves the wrong way fast, my order could execute far outside my planned trade setup. There’s also the potential for price manipulation by market makers.

Market orders always get filled for the best possible price. If you want to buy now at the best possible price that you can get, then you use a market order, and your order gets executed at the ask price. If the price of the exectuion of the trade has the higher priority, then you place a limit order below the current ask price. But if you limit your price below the current ask, then the order only gets executed if the price goes down to your limit price. Sadly you find yourself filled on the wrong side of the bid-ask spread. One additional point of consideration is market volatility.

Considering the Bid-Ask Spread

They can place a order, executed only when the prices of the assets fall below a certain limit. Investors can enter the trade at the entry-level to ensure they do not miss the chance to profit from the spread. They buy the security and sell the same when the prices move to the original ask price or above, which is always the figure below the bid price.

The market identifies a spread mainly when there is a misbalance in the supply and demand of the assets. This friction in the availability of assets affects their prices, narrowing or widening the difference between the bid and ask prices, termed a spread. With many investments, the concept of bid and ask applies to prices. The bid price is what a buyer is willing to pay for a security, while the ask price is what a seller is willing to accept for the same security.

For example, if an investor wanted to sell a stock, he or she would need to determine how much someone is willing to pay for it. It represents the highest price that someone is willing to pay for the stock. In finance, a spread usually refers to the difference between two prices of a security or asset, or between two similar assets. Orders to buy or sell stocks are prioritized according to predefined criteria.

The ask price is the price that an investor is willing to sell the security for. The bid price refers to the highest price a buyer will pay for a security. Market makers are firms that maintain large enough inventories of a particular stock to facilitate instantaneous buy and sell orders. A “Bid and Ask” (or “Bid and Offer”) is a two-way cost quote that displays all the anticipated costs at which a security may be acquired and sold at a particular moment. The asking price is the minimum amount a seller is willing to accept for a particular security.

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