Limit order

July 27, 2023
To purchase or sell at the specified limit price or better is to place a limit order. Limit orders come in two flavors, buy and sell. Limit orders provide the potential that the market price will never go below the order's threshold. The investor's order may not go through if this happens. An investor's willingness to pay is reflected in the size of their limit order. It always allows for a duplicate order entry and is suitable for traders when getting a certain price is more important than completing the deal at the market price.

What is a limit order?

To buy or sell at the given price or better is to place a limit order. For this reason, sell orders, for instance, will only be executed after the price reaches or exceeds the set limit. Concurrently, buy orders begin when the price reaches a certain minimum. It is a form of order in the stock market where buyers and sellers may specify an offer price. If traders use limit orders instead of market orders during high volatility, they have a greater say over the price at which their securities are executed. Limit orders allow traders to choose their prices, whereas market orders allow them to pick a price from a range. Changes may be made up to the point of execution.

Understanding the limit order

A trader might set the price they are willing to sell or purchase in advance using a limit order. Before the real deal, it guarantees that all pricing concerns are met. The primary focus is on a security's valuation. Therefore, the deal does not take place if the asset's current price is higher or lower than the parameters provided by the trader in the limit order. These strategies may be useful when a stock or asset is lightly traded, very volatile, or has a large bid-ask spread. In financial markets, the disparity between the maximum price a purchaser is ready to pay and the lowest price a vendor is willing to accept for an asset is known as the "bid-ask spread."

An investor's maximum purchase price may be capped using a buy limit order. It is ideal for traders who care more about getting a specified price than having their trades completed at the current market price, and it always permits exact order input.

When placing a limit order, investors run the chance that the market price will never reach its predetermined threshold. The goal price may be reached on occasion. There still was not enough cash on hand to fulfill the request. It has a restricted price point and may only be partially or not filled. Certain factors, such as stock availability, trading time, stock liquidity, and order size, affect the success of each stock market transaction. Such instructions are usually subject to preexisting priority rules.

When should a limit order be used?

If you need to purchase or sell shares of stock immediately, market orders are the way to go. In some situations, a limit order is the best option:

    i.   Limit orders might help traders remove their emotions from the trading process when they do not have time to monitor the stock market. Limit orders allow you to purchase or sell stocks without worrying about the exact market timing, so you may go about your day as usual without stressing out.

   ii.   When securing a lower price is a priority. When you know the exact price you want to purchase or sell a stock, a limit order is the way to go. You may, for instance, set a limit order to purchase shares at $99 if you anticipate that the stock price of a certain business will go below $100. Your purchase will be processed if the stock price drops below $99. If it does not, the order will be canceled.

  iii.   When dealing with a large volume of shares, limit orders might assist you in preventing slippage or overpaying for a stock because the price was higher than expected. Estimating the amount of slippage that may occur after placing a market order is impossible. However, you may set the highest price to buy or sell a certain number of shares using limit orders.

  iv.   When buying or selling seldom traded stocks, limit orders might be useful. For instance, it may take some time to fulfill a market order to purchase shares of a tiny, low-volume business. Using limit orders in this situation might help you acquire the desired price without waiting too long.

Varieties of limit orders

Investors may choose from two distinct limit order options:

     i.     A buy limit order specifies a minimum purchase price below which the order will not be executed.

    ii.     A sell limit order specifies a minimum selling price over which the security cannot be repurchased.

The buy limit is the maximum price you are willing to purchase a firm's shares. The order will be carried out if the firm's stock price drops to that level. You might attempt to make the most money possible from a stock price increase by placing a sell limit order.

Limit orders may help you monitor your spending, but before you place one, you should read this. For instance, limit orders have a finite lifetime. Good 'til canceled (GTC) orders, for instance, stay in effect until either the order is carried out or you cancel it, whereas day orders expire at the end of the trading day. Nonetheless, your broker could only honor the order for 90 days.

Your limit order may also include the following extra conditions:

     i.   The order must be "filled" (carried out) immediately; thus, the term "fill or kill" (FOK) will be "killed" (canceled) otherwise.

    ii.   When placing an immediate or cancel (IOC) limit order, you specify a limit price to purchase or sell a security immediately, and your unfilled portions of the order are canceled.

   iii.   An all or none (AON) order specifies that the purchase or sale of an asset must be completed in whole or not at all.

Limit orders may be placed to purchase or sell, but their execution is not guaranteed. More precise control over your outcomes may be possible with the inclusion of circumstances like those listed above. If you want more say over the outcome of your limit order, you may include conditions like FOK or IOC.

Contrasting limit and stop orders

While stop orders prevent a stock from trading below a given price, limit orders prevent the stock from trading above a certain price. Shares may be purchased or sold at a worse price than the trigger price if a stop order is executed as a market order.

However, limit orders may only be completed at the price set for the order. If you put a limit order to buy 100 shares at $10, but there are only 50 shares now trading at that price, the order will only be executed to buy 50 shares.

In contrast, if the stock price were to hit $10 and a stop order was placed, 100 shares would be purchased as quickly as possible, even if only 50 shares were available at $10 and the remainder of the 50 were purchased at a higher price. Until the predetermined price is reached, only limit orders are accessible to market participants, while stop orders are hidden.

Comparison between limit orders and put options

Put options are agreements to sell an asset at a certain price within a specified time frame. In exchange for the right to buy certain securities at a specified future time, the seller of an option pays a premium to the option's writer.

Limit orders and put options are similar in that they both allow investors to buy shares at a certain price and benefit from a trend in the company's price. But there are a few distinctions between the two. For starters, unlike Limit orders, put options cannot be canceled at the whim of the trader. You cannot revoke your option to sell a put on a stock with the expectation that its price would fall from $500 to $400 during the following 20 days if the company's price instead rises during that period.

It is necessary to let the option lapse without exercising it. The vendor also stands to lose money in the form of premiums. In contrast, limit orders may be canceled at any time if the price of a share swings unexpectedly. Losses and gains may be limited by using put options.

In the scenario above, let us assume you hoped the security's price would go down below $400 and back up again. However, it did not occur within the period specified for your pick. The securities would have been purchased in response to a limit order. However, the put option sell would have been null and void after expiration. As a result, you lost money off the deal. The inverse is likewise true in this circumstance.

Assume that the price of the asset does not decline. Since the option writer may still make a little profit thanks to the premiums paid by the seller, the risk of losing money is reduced.

Contrasting limit and market orders

An investor may choose between two basic execution choices regarding pricing when placing an order to buy or sell stock: "at the market" or "at the limit." A market order is a purchase or sale scheduled to be fulfilled immediately at the prevailing market price. A limit order specifies the highest or lowest possible price at which you are ready to make a purchase or transaction.

The process of investing in stocks is similar to that of purchasing a vehicle. You may either pay the dealer's asking price and walk away or bargain with them and hold off on the purchase until they meet your price. Similar logic applies to the stock market.

With a market order, the focus is on getting the transaction done as quickly as possible rather than getting the best price for the underlying securities. If the security's current value is higher or lower than the limit order's specified range, the order will not be executed.

The benefits of a limit order

·       Traders may enter and leave transactions at predetermined prices. Therefore, they can achieve a targeted profit margin while trading a certain investment.

·       When the market is unstable, this strategy might be helpful. For instance, when a stock quickly goes up or down, a trader may be concerned about receiving an unfavorable price from a market order.

·       This strategy might be useful when the trader cannot monitor his portfolio consistently but has a target price in mind. They want to carry out a purchase or sell order for any security. The limit order book allows for time-sensitive orders to be made.

The drawbacks of a limit order

·       The pricing is contingent on the availability of a certain kind of security. Thus, it safeguards against unfavorable trade execution. On the contrary, it does not ensure a purchase or sale since the order is never fulfilled until the target price is reached. As a result, investors risk missing a lucrative chance.

·       When placing a limit order for stocks, traders must carefully indicate the right price they want to buy or sell. Therefore, having a pricing advantage is crucial. If you do not specify a price, the deal will be executed at the prevailing market price.

·       Limit orders incur greater brokerage costs than market orders do. The order will not be carried out if the market price never hits the high or low the investor sets. That means we cannot promise anything. Since these are not simple transactions, brokers must put in more time and energy; hence the charge is greater.

·       Since order executions are more important than price, they are not ideal for aggressive trading strategies.

·       During its application, the market price can be unaffected. As a result, it is challenging to turn a profit under these conditions.

·       Low-volume equities not traded on major exchanges might be difficult to research to determine an appropriate limit order price.


Investing is about generating profits while limiting risk, and employing various orders may help you achieve that. Limit orders may help you create order limits so that you only execute buy or sell orders at certain prices. Remember the time constraints and the fact that your order may or may not execute, and constantly examine how your order types fit into your investing plan.