Definition of limit order
: an order to buy securities at a specified maximum price or sell them at a specified minimum price
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First Known Use of limit order
Financial Definition of LIMIT ORDER
What It Is
How It Works
For example, you want to buy ABC Inc. at $50. The stock is currently trading at $51, so you set a limit order to buy at $50. The price may go up or it may go down, but you know that as soon the stock trades at $50, your order will be triggered and you'll buy at your predetermined price.
Once you buy ABC at $50, let's say you decide you want to sell at $53. Again, you place your limit order and wait. Once ABC trades at $53, your order becomes active and will sell at your target price of $53.
Limit orders are especially useful in volatile market environments. If a $50 stock trades between $50 and $60 on a volatile day, investors using market orders will be at a decided disadvantage because they won't have control over the price at which they buy or sell.
Why It Matters
By using limit orders, you can protect yourself from buying a stock at too high a price or selling at too low a price.
Note that if the price of the stock never reaches your limit price, your trade won't be executed. Also check your broker's fee schedule; some brokers charge more to execute a limit order than they do for a market order.
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