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How to Place Advanced Conditional Orders for Your Stock Investments

Although advanced conditional orders may seem complicated, like anything else in stock investing (and life), they become easy as you break down the process into smaller pieces.

Remember that you need to set clearly in your mind what you actually want to occur and what possibilities you want to take into account long before you talk to your broker or head to your broker’s website to create the orders. You may want to write down your thoughts as clearly as possible.

Some of these steps will vary because every brokerage firm runs things a little differently, but the essential steps should be the same.

  1. Choose the security.

    In this order, are you trading a stock, exchange-traded fund (ETF), or option?

  2. Search out the symbol.

    What is the symbol of the stock or ETF (or option)?

  3. Choose the quantity.

    How many shares of the stock or ETF do you want? Or how many option contracts?

  4. Figure out the basic order type.

    Is it a market order, limit order, or other type of order?

  5. Check the condition.

    Indicate that this order is conditional.

  6. Check the “What if” operator in your order.

    Did you mean “greater than or equal to” or “less than or equal to”? Check with your broker to be sure your order does exactly what you intend for it to do.

  7. Choose the second security.

    Repeat Steps 2–6 for this security.

  8. Choose the third security.

    Repeat Steps 2–6 for this security.

  9. Set the cancellation condition.

    Under what circumstance should the order be canceled? Say you want to buy XYZ stock when it hits $50 but not above that price. In that case, you set the cancellation condition at $50.

  10. Set the time factor.

    Specify that the order(s) is good for a day or provide an expiration date.

  11. Review and confirm your order.

    Lastly, review that the order is structured to your specifications. Not sure? Cancel and try again!

Your success with trade triggers doesn’t mean you need to master all the different types. However, it’s good to master at least one or two to make your trading and investing more successful.

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