Let’s go over some of these orders, which work whether you are dealing with an Internet-based broker or an actual human.
The market order is the simplest and quickest way to get your order filled (or completed).
A market order instructs your broker to buy or sell the stock immediately at the prevailing price, whatever that may be.
If you are following the market, you may or may not get the last price listed. In a non-volatile market, you will probably get a price close to that, but there is no guarantee of any specific price.
One final thing, but important note: Market orders will likely be the most inexpensive of the orders you place.
Limit orders instruct your broker to buy BELOW or sell ABOVE a stock at a particular price. The purchase or sale will not happen unless you get your price.
Limit orders give you control over your entry or exit point by fixing the price, which can be helpful.
However, you may want to do some math first. Check with your broker to see how the commission on limit orders compares with what you pay for market orders.
If there is a significant difference, you may be better off with a market order (assuming the volume provides adequate liquidity and price is at or near your target) and saving on commissions.
Stop orders instruct your broker to buy once price is AT OR ABOVE or sell AT OR BELOW a particular price. The purchase or sale will not happen unless you get your price. NOTE: Once your price is reached a stop-order converts to a Market Order so there is no guarantee of the price you will get. (See Stop-Limit Order below)
Much like limit orders, Stop orders give you control over your entry or exit point by fixing the price, which can be helpful.
Once again, do some math first regarding the price you want and the commissions.
Stop Loss Orders
A stop loss order is basically a way of using a stop order to protect an existing position from a large loss.
You enter a stop loss order at a point below the current market price if your are Long or at or above the current price for a Short position. If the stock moves to this price point, the stop loss order becomes a market order and your broker sells the stock. If the stock price continues to move in your favor, the stop loss order does nothing.
Stop loss orders are cheap insurance that protects you from a loss.
The trailing stop order is similar to the stop loss order, but you use it to protect a existing profits, as opposed to protect against an initial loss.
If you have a profit in a stock, you can use the trailing stop order to follow the price as it moves in your favor. You enter the trailing stop order as a points or percentages away from the market price. If the stock’s price moves against you by that number of points or percentage, the trailing stop becomes a market order and your broker sells the stock.
If the stock’s price continues in your favor the stop-loss order price moves with it and protects your additional gains.
Good Till Canceled
A Good till canceled order instructs your broker to keep an order active until you cancel it. Obviously, you use this order with other order types to specify a time frame for the order.
Some brokers have limits on how long they will hold a GTC order.
A day order is any order that is not a good till canceled order. If your broker does not fill your order that day, you will have to re-enter it the next day.
All or None
The all or none order states you want the entire order filled or none of the order filled. You would use this type of order for thinly traded stocks.
You may find these orders called slightly different names at some brokers, but the concept will be the same.