Orders are critical tools for any type of trader and should always be considered when executing against a trading strategy. Orders can be used to enter into a trade as well as, help protect profits and limit downside risk.
By understanding the differences between the order types available can help you determine which orders the best suit your needs and are best suited to help you to reach your trading goals.
A market order is the most basic order type and is executed at the best available price at the time the order is received.
A limit order is an order to buy or sell at a specified price or better. A sell limit order is filled at the specified price or higher; buy limit orders are executed at the specified price or lower.
Limit orders allow you the flexibility to be very precise in defining the entry or exit point of a trade. Keep in mind that limit orders do not guarantee that you will enter into or exit a position because if the specified price is not met, your order will not be executed.
A stop order triggers a market order when a predefined rate is reached. A buy stop order triggers a market order when the offer price is met; a sell stop order triggers a market order when the bid price is met. Both stop orders are executed at the best available price, depending on available liquidity. Stop orders also called stop loss orders, are frequently used to limit downside risk.
Stop orders help to validate the direction of the market before entering into a trade. It’s important to keep in mind that stop orders are executed at the best available price after the market order is triggered, depending on available liquidity.
A trailing stop is a stop order that is set based on a predefined number of pips away from the current market price. A trailing stop will automatically trail your position as the market moves in your favor.
If the market moves against you by the predefined number of pips, then a market order is triggered and the stop order is executed at the next available rate depending on liquidity.
Contingent orders combine several types of orders and are used to execute against a specific trading strategy. Contingent orders require that one of the orders is triggered before the other order becomes activated.
The most common types of contingent orders are If/Then and If/Then OCO.
An if/then the order is a set of two orders with the stipulation that if the first order (known as the “if” order) is executed, the second order (the “then” order) becomes an active, unassociated, single order. Unassociated orders are not attached to a trade and act independently of any position updates. In cases where the “if” order does not execute, the “then” single order will remain dormant and will not be executed when the market reaches the specified rate. Note that when either part of an if/then the order is canceled, all parts of the order are canceled as well.
An if/then OCO provides that if the first order (the “if” order) is executed, the second order (the “then” order) becomes an active unassociated one-cancels-other (OCO) order. Remember, unassociated orders are not attached to a trade and act independently of any position updates. As with a regular OCO order, the execution of either one of the two “then” orders automatically cancels the other.
In cases where the “if” single order does not execute, the “then” OCO order will remain dormant and will not be executed when the market reaches the specified rate. When any part of an if/then OCO order is canceled (including either leg of the OCO order), all other parts of the order are canceled as well.
Market orders are day orders as they are executed at the next available price. However, an expiry value of End of Day (EOD) or Good Till Cancel (GTC can be submitted for all other order types.