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What is a Market Order and How Do I Place One?

A Market Order is an order which you buy or sell a stock at the present market price. This type of order can be placed anywhere in the world. A broker enters a market order like this one when being asked by his or her client. Such an order is the easiest type of order for a broker to complete. He is the only person who should be on the floor in order to fulfill the transaction. He is given a task to look for the best price available at that moment. Therefore, an investor who wants to invest, buy or sell shares must contact her or his broker and allow them to take care of the rest. You should also remember that once this type of order is placed; the customer has no control over the price of the transaction.

Market orders are sometimes referred as an “unrestricted order”. Once it is placed, it is guaranteed that it will be executed. On the other hand, it depends on the willingness of the buyer or seller. Instructions for this order can be simple or complicated. This type of order also is usually cheaper than a limit order. Since this order guarantees execution, it often has low commissions because little effort of work is needed for brokers to perform such an action.

One disadvantage for a market order is that when the order is executed, the price you pay may not always be the price you get hold of from a real-time estimate service or the price you were quoted by your broker. This is evident in fast moving markets where stocks are unstable and more impulsive.

There are certain criteria’s that you should meet when starting to invest using this type of order. First, the average daily volume (number of shares traded per day) is over 100,000. This is considered still a low number and a higher number might be an advantage to be used as a measurement. You may check the average daily volume online. Second, as much as possible, the bid and ask prices are fairly close at the same time known as the spread. Within 0.40% of the stock price may be considered a better gauge. Third, you are not buying a large amount of shares so it is ok to have 1000 shares or less. If these three criteria are met, such order is easy and would work best. This only means that a market order immediately executes at the best price available to meet your order amount.

One more thing to watch out for is the thought that by using market orders on stocks with a depleted average daily volume, in such conditions in the market where the ask price is a lot higher than the current market price which may result in a large spread. Meaning, you may end up disbursing a whole lot more than what you originally anticipated. So it is much safer to have this type of order for high volume stocks in that sense.

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