One prerequisite to successful investing in shares is a basic understanding of the operational
mechanics of the secondary market. Before a share is purchased or sold, the investor must
instruct his broker about the order. This means clearly specifying how the order is to be placed.
Much confusion and ill will can be avoided if proper instructions are sent to the broker.
Basically, two types of share transaction exist-buy orders and sell orders. Technically sell orders
can be further classified as either selling long or selling short. Various types of orders that you can
put through to exchanges are as follows:
Buy orders, obviously are used when the investor anticipates a rise in prices. When he deems the
time appropriate for the share purchase, the investor enters a buy order. As explained in next
pages, the investor must take several other determinations besides just instructing his broker to
buy some stock.
When the investor determines that a stock he already owns (i.e. long position) is going to
experience a decline in price, he may decide to dispose of it. Here also, other determinations
must be made to accompany sell order.
Short selling, or "going short," is a special and quite speculative variety of selling. Basically it
involves selling shares of a stock that are not owned in the anticipation of a price decline. The
short seller sells a stock in the first leg of transaction which is neutralised by eventual purchase of
sold position at a lower market price. The short seller makes profit/loss by the difference between
the sale price and the purchased price. However, short selling can be very dangerous since every
rise in price of stock would add to losses of the short-seller, the stock may never reach the lower
price(the price of short sell) for a long time and booking losses would be the only solution for
short-seller. Sell-short transaction, by its very nature leads to unlimited losses till the transaction is
neutralised. In the case of a buy into a stock at least the investor acquires stake in the company
whose performance may eventually get reflected in the share price and provide exit to the buyer.
Sell-short transactions are hence executed by experienced participants who follow markets and
company performances on a daily basis.
Use Of Market and limit Order
Investors, who want to buy or sell the share regardless of price on that day. They are executed as
fast as possible at the best prevailing price on the exchange. It means that your order quantity will
be executed the moment it reaches the exchange provided the required quantity is available. This
order type is accepted by both the exchanges i.e. BSE and NSE.
The obvious advantage of a market order is the speed with which it is executed. The
disadvantage is that the investor does not know the exact execution price until after the execution.
This advantage is potentially most troublesome when dealing in either very inactive or very
Limit type orders refer to a buy or sell order with a limit price. Limit orders overcome the
disadvantage of the market order-namely, not knowing in advance the price at which the
transaction will take place. It means that if the order gets executed, them it will within the limit
specified or at a better rate than that. This order type is accepted by both the exchanges i.e. BSE
When using a limit order, the investor specifies in advance the limit price at which he wants the
transaction to be carried out. It is always understood that the price limitation includes an "or
better" instruction. In the case of a limit order to buy, the investor specifies the maximum price he
will pay for the share; the order can be carried out only at the limit price or lower. In the case of a
limit order to sell, the investor specifies the minimum price he will accept for the share; the order
can be carried out only at the limit price or higher.
To safe guard against extreme volatility in the markets, you can put a limit on what price you
would want your order to execute. Generally, limit orders are placed "away from the market." This
means that the limit price is somewhat removed from the prevailing price (generally, above the
prevailing price in the case of a limit order to sell, and below the prevailing price in the case of a
limit order to buy). Obviously, the investor operating in this manner believes that his limit price will
be reached and executed in a reasonable period of time. Therein, however, lies the chief
disadvantage of a limit order-i.e. it may never be executed at all. If the limit price is set very close
to the prevailing price, there is little advantage over the market order. Moreover, if the limit is
considerably removed from the market, the price may never reach the limit \u2013 even because of a
fractional difference. Also because limit orders are filled on a first come first basis, it is possible
that so many of them are in ahead of the investor\u2019s limit at a given price that his order will never
be executed. Thus, selecting a proper limit price is a delicate maneuver.
On the other hand a market order is filled at the best possible price as soon as an investor places
the order and it will not be even possible to cancel the order. However, a limit order may be
cancelled or modified at any time prior to execution.
Day Orders or End of Day Orders
Good Till Cancel Order
Good Till Date Order
Immediate or Cancel Order
So far orders have been classified by type of transaction (buy or sell) and by price (market or
limit). Now differences stemming from the time limit placed on the order will be examined. Orders
can be for either a day or until canceled.
A day order is one that remains active only for the normal trading time on that day. Unless
otherwise requested by the investor, all orders are treated as day orders only. Market orders are
almost day orders because they do not specify a particular price. One key rationale for the day
order is that market conditions might change overnight, and thus a seemingly good investment
decision one day might seem considerably less desirable the following day.
A Good Till Cancelled (GTC) order remains in the system until they are executed or cancelled.
These types of orders are used in conjunction with limit orders. However, the system cancels this
order if it is not traded within a number of days, which is parameterized by the Exchange. In the
case of BSE and NSE, such order expires at the end of settlement in which it was placed.
When using a GTC order, the investor is implying that he understands the market mechanics, and therefore feels sufficiently confident that, given enough time, the order will be executed at the limit price.
order should stay in the system if not executed. The days counted are inclusive of the day/date on
which the order is placed and inclusive of holidays. Such orders are automatically cancelled at the
end of settlement in case strike-price is not reached during the tenure of settlement in which the
order was placed. The investor would then have to refresh the order with his broker, in the
subsequent new settlement.
An Immediate or Cancel (IOC) order allows the user to buy or sell a security as soon as the order is released into the system, failing which the order is cancelled from the system. Partial match is possible for the order and the unmatched portion of the order is cancelled immediately.
A stop loss order allows investor to place an order which gets activated only when the last traded
price of the share is reached or crosses a predefined threshold price also called as trigger price. It
means that if investor feels that any particular share will be worth buy or sell only after it crosses
some threshold rate then this type of order gets activated.
Several possible dangers are inherent when using this type of order. First, if the stop is placed too
close to the market, the investor might have his position closed out because of a minor price
fluctuation, even though his idea will prove correct in the long run. On the order hand, if the stop is
too far away from the market, the stop order serves no purpose.
Further classification of this type of orders can be defined depending upon the price limit of
orders, i.e. the price on which the order should execute, as explained under:
A stop order is a special type of limit order but with very important differences in intent and
application. A stop market order to sell is treated as a market order when the stop price or a price
below is "touched" (reached); a stop market order to buy is treated as a market order when the
stop price or a price above it is reached. Thus, stop market order to sell is set at a price below the
current market price, and a stop order to buy is set at a price above the current market price.
The possible inherent danger associated with this type of order is that because they become
market orders after the proper price level has been reached, the actual transaction could take
place some distance away from the price the investor had in mind when he placed the order. The
reason may be prior queuing up of other orders or order quantity not available.
The stop limit order is a device to overcome the uncertainties connected with a stop market order
\u2013 namely that of not knowing what the execution price will be after the order becomes a market
order. The stop limit order gives the investor the advantage of specifying the limit price: the
maximum price on which the buy order should filled or minimum price on which the sell order
should filled. Therefore, a stop limit order to buy is activated as soon as the stop price or higher is
reached, and then an attempt is made to buy at the limit price or lower. Conversely, a stop limit
order to sell is activated as soon as the stop price or lower is reached, and then an attempt is
made to sell at the limit price or higher.
The obvious danger is that the order may not be executed in a volatile market because the
difference between execution limit and stop price may be too low. However, if things work out as
planned, the stop limit order to sell will be very effective.
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