Forex Trading

Difference Between Bid And Stock Asking Prices


Spread values may be minimal in a highly liquid market, but they can also be quite huge in an illiquid or in a less liquid market. When there is political or economic uncertainty, investors are usually much more reserved and are not as active. That means buyers aren’t buying as much, and sellers are not selling as much. That also results in a lack of liquidity which in turn creates a larger bid-ask spread.

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Many investors look to buy or sell shares of these companies at any given time, making it easier to locate a counterparty for the best bid or ask price. When trading stocks, bonds, currencies or other securities, the prices that the buyer and seller deal with are slightly different. It’s important to understand how the bid-ask spread impacts trading profits.


Joan has logged on to her brokerage account to see how her stocks are doing. When she clicks on one of her holdings she is confused at first about the way the price is reported. For example, imagine that the closing bid price of a particular stock one day is $35 US Dollars per share, and the ask price is $37 USD per share. Calculating the average of any two amounts requires adding the two amounts and then dividing that sum by two. In this case, $35 USD is added to $37 USD, for a sum of $72 USD.

Bid & Ask Size

An order is an investor’s instructions to a broker or brokerage firm to purchase or sell a security. An individual investor looking at this spread would then know that, if they want to sell 1,000 shares, they could do so at $10 by selling to MSCI. Conversely, the same investor would know that they could purchase 1,500 shares from Merrill Lynch at $10.25. When an order is placed, the buyer or seller has an obligation to purchase or sell their shares at the agreed-upon price.


The bid price is the price at which the broker will buy the stock from an investor, and the ask price, also known as the offer price, is the price at which the stock will be sold. Bid price is always the lower number, with the difference between the bid and ask essentially representing a service fee for the broker. When the average between the bid price and the ask price is calculated, the resulting number is known as the mid price. Thus, if an investor intends to buy 1,000 shares at the immediate market rate, they can buy them at the current offer rate of ₹2071.9. In some cases, large block sellers will wait until enough shares accumulate at a certain bid price so that they can execute their trade.

Bid-ask spreadThe asking price is the lowest price at which a prospective seller will sell the security. The bid price, on the other hand, is the highest price a prospective buyer is willing to pay for a security, and the bid-ask spread is the difference between them. As with bid and ask prices, the spread between bid and ask yields is wider when markets are illiquid and narrower when there is a lot of trading activity.

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. When you are bidding on something, we know that the highest price usually wins. If you can offer a higher Bid price than the other buyers, it’s easier to find a seller that will accept your offer.

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The bid yield is the yield figure that you get when you consider what your long-term return would be if you paid the bid price for the bond. Conversely, the ask yield is the figure that results when you do the same calculation based on the higher ask price. A $25 ask price would indicate that there are 2,000 pending $25 transactions. The ask price, usually referred to as the ‘ask’, is defined as the minimum price a seller is willing to accept for the instrument.

We may mention or include reviews of their products, at times, but it does not affect our recommendations, which are completely based on the research and work of our editorial team. We are not contractually obligated in any way to offer positive or recommendatory reviews of their services. This is most common withsmall companies with infrequently traded stocks. Anyone looking to buy a share will go to the person selling for the lowest price until that person runs out of shares to sell.

What are bid sizes and ask sizes?

Different of markets use other conventions for the spread. When they each pull up a quote, they see the price of XYZ listed as $9.25 / $9.30. The first number is the bid price, the highest price that the buyer is willing to pay to buy shares at this moment.

The content that we create is free and independently-sourced, devoid of any paid-for promotion. If there is a large bid/ask spread in a stock, that can make it very risky to buy shares. Similarly, if you try to sell shares, you might wind up selling them for far less than the $2 that you expected to. For example, a transaction may have occurred at $2 early in the morning, but by afternoon, the ask price might have risen to $5. If you go to buy shares expecting to pay $2 each, you could be very surprised when you pay more than double that amount. With high-volume stocks, you can usually expect the bid and ask prices to be very close to the last price listed on the stock ticker.

  • The spread generates revenue for the market makers, who facilitate the buying and selling of stock between investors.
  • Veteran traders throw terms like bid vs ask around like NFL players throw a football.
  • Demand refers to an individual’s willingness to pay a particular price for an item or stock.
  • If the price of a stock goes up and down like a rollercoaster market-makers won’t be able to successfully set an ask price or a bid price.

The bid price, more usually referred to as the ‘bid,’ is defined as the highest price at which a buyer is willing to purchase a financial instrument such as a stock or an ETF. It entails both the quantity required and the price the investor is willing to pay. The current price, also known as the market value, is the actual selling price of an asset on the stock exchange. The current price is constantly fluctuating and is determined by the price at which that asset last traded. As others have stated, the current price is simply the last price at which the security traded. For any given tick, however, there are many bid-ask prices because securities can trade on multiple exchanges and between many agents on a single exchange.

The larger the bid or ask size, the more liquidity that security has in the market. Both the bid and ask will change over the course of a trading day. To make a trade, an investor places an order with their broker. The mechanics of the trade vary depending on the type of order placed. However, the general process involves brokers submitting an offer to a stock exchange.

There are two parties involved – a, who puts forth the assets to bid for, and a buyer, who places relevant bids for securities. The difference in these spreads helps in determining the liquidity in the market. However, both rates independently do not make much sense and have to be used in coordination to understand the entire picture better. DerivativesDerivatives in finance are financial instruments that derive their value from the value of the underlying asset. The underlying asset can be bonds, stocks, currency, commodities, etc. The four types of derivatives are – Option contracts, Future derivatives contracts, Swaps, Forward derivative contracts.

Ask is what someone asks for his shares, if you care to buy them. About Us Learn more about Stack Overflow the company, and our products. When the market’s crazy like it right now, you gotta keep your trading skills on point. Stop Order – A stop order goes to work when the stock passes a certain level.

Types of Orders

The difference between the bid price and ask price is commonly known as the bid and ask spread, bid-offer spread or bid-ask spread. A limit order requires that the order is filled at a specific price, or better until the number of shares has been reached. A limit order is used by investors who only want the transaction to occur if the price is right for them. When a buyer meets a seller’s price to complete the transaction, it is called taking the ask–or taking the offer.

Ask Price vs. Bid Price

These prices represent a story where investors focus on how buyers and sellers are willing to pay the best rate in their activity. Deep knowledge about the bid and ask price would indicate when to buy and sell, building a profitable trading strategy. The last price shown in your trading platform reflects the previous transaction price, where a buyer and a seller found together and exchanged money and shares. Those transactions are executed via a broker on stock exchanges for various securities. For simplicity, we will focus on stock trading in this article about bid vs ask. The bid price is the highest price that a trader is willing to pay to go long at that moment.

The difference between these two prices is known as the spread. The spread is what provides a profit for market makers and specialists. If IBM stock is quoted at a bid price of $152 and an ask price of $152.02, for example, the specialist can make $0.02 per share sold. Chris‘ answer is pretty thorough in explaining how the two types of exchanges work, so I’ll just add some minor details.

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