online trading
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

New to trading or investing? Below are some frequently asked questions from newer traders and investors.

What are Long vs. Short Positions?

Long Position - The outright purchase of stock whether on a cash or a margin basis.

Short Position - A sale of stock that you do not own (you've borrowed it from your broker) in anticipation of buying to cover the loan of stock when the price goes down.

Buy and Sell Transaction Types

Buy - Purchase a stock either on a cash or margin basis.

Sell - Dispose of a stock you are currently holding in your portfolio.

Sell Short - Enter a short position, whereby you sell a stock you do not hold by borrowing it from your broker. Note that short sales are subject to special exchange rules, and shares may or may not be available for shorting.

Buy to Cover - Purchase a stock to cover a short position and pay back what you borrowed from your broker.

Buy and Sell Order Types

Market - Placing a market order instructs your broker to buy or sell at the current market price now. This type of order should be used when you want to be certain of receiving an execution. Note that prices can change quickly so the execution price will often be slightly different than the price quoted at the time of placing the order.

Limit - Placing a limit order instructs your broker to buy at or below, or sell at or above, a limit price you specify.

Stop - A stop order is initially a limit order to buy or sell when a specified price (the "stop" price) has been reached. Once the stock trades at or beyond the specified price the stop order becomes a market order.

A stop order on a sale is placed below the current market (usually to limit losses or protect unrealized gains). A stop order on a purchase is placed above the current market (usually to protect short positions).

All or None - Used on larger orders to avoid partial executions over several days and being charged for more than one commission. This type of order instructs your broker to execute your entire order at the price you specified. Note regular limit orders take priority over this order so a All-or-None order may not be executed.

Fill or Kill - Used when you want to execute your entire order immediately at the price you specified or cancel the order immediately. Similar to All-or-None orders, this avoids receiving partial execution over several days. Unlike All-or-None orders, Fill-or-Kill orders will ensure that if the entire order can not be executed immediately at the price you have specified, the order will be canceled.