Market orders, limit orders, stop-on-quote orders … what does it all mean?  In this episode, I start with the basics of order flow and execution: what happens behind the scenes when you buy or sell stocks and ETFs.  Then I go through the various order types, from simple to complex, to help you understand your choices.  You’ll get examples of situations where you might use one order type over another.


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(CC image by Norlando Pobre on Flickr)

Section 1: How Securities are Traded

Bid and ask prices

Market depth

Exchanges and other trading platforms

Order routing

National Best Bid and Offer (NBBO)

Price improvement

Brokers often get paid for order flow – is that fair or are we getting ripped off?

Section 2: Basic Orders and Conditions

Market orders

Limit orders

Conditions: All-or-nothing (AON), Fill or Kill, good ’till canceled (GTC), good ’till date (GTD), day orders, market on close (MOC), limit on close (LOC)

Stop orders


Trailing stops

Section 3: Complex Orders

One Cancels Other (OCO)

One Cancels All (OCA)

Conditional orders

Pegged orders



Scottrade: Anatomy of an Order (PDF)

TD Ameritrade: Order Execution FAQ

SEC Investor Publication – Trade Execution

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