Enter and Exit Trade Basics You Should Know

When you want to enter or exit a trade, you have to tell your broker what you want to do. You enter an order with your broker. This order tells the broker the number of shares and the symbol for the stock or security you’re planning to trade. Your order also specifies the type of transaction you’d like to execute and how you’d like the broker to handle your transaction.

Before entering your trade order, you’ll probably want to check for a stock quote. Ideally, your quote system for your broker provides this kind of information.

[Credit: Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com]
Credit: Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com

The fields are as follows:

  • Description: The name of the stock and its symbol (in this case T, AT&T, Inc.).

  • Exchange: The exchange on which the stock is traded (in this case, the NYSE).

  • Net percentage change (symbolized with ▲ or ▼): The change in price expressed (+ or –) as a percentage difference between the previous day’s close and the current closing price.

  • Net change (Chg): The change in price (+ or –) from the previous day’s close.

  • Last: The price recorded for the most recently executed trade when the markets are open. It will be the same as the close price when the markets are closed.

  • Volume: The daily trading volume.

  • Open: The price obtained for the first trade of the day.

  • High: The highest trade price of the day.

  • Low: The lowest trade price of the day.

  • Previous Close: The last trade price for the previous day.

  • Bid: The highest price someone is willing to pay to buy the stock.

  • Bid Size: The number of shares being bid at the bid price.

  • Ask (or offer): The lowest price someone has offered to accept to sell the stock.

  • Ask Size: The number of shares being offered at the ask price.

  • P/E: The price/earnings ratio.

  • EPS: Earnings per share.

  • Last Ticks: One or more symbols showing the direction of the last few trades in the stock during the day, or at the end of the day for which the quote is effective.

    A plus sign or up arrow indicates a trade that was higher than the previous trade, or an uptick. A minus sign or down arrow indicates a trade that was for less than the previous trade, or a downtick. And an equal sign or a dash indicates a trade at the same price as the previous trade.

  • Last Size: The number of shares for the most recent trade.

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