A:

The letters 'B' and 'A' in the notation BxA refer to bid and ask, respectively. When you look at online stock quote data, some sources will provide you with a feed of the bid and ask outstanding order volumes for the stock in question. There is no standardized method for reporting this data, but usually the numbers you will see will be divided by 100, meaning that for every "1" shown on the table, there are 100 shares of stock listed for trade at that price.

What you will usually see when you request BxA data is a two-column table of data, one side listing the bid amounts and the other containing the ask amounts. Each row of numbers will correspond to a given price. The bids are listed from highest to lowest, while the ask orders are listed from lowest to highest, providing you with an idea of how many shares of stock are currently on the table to be bought or sold at each price level. (For further insight, check out Why The Bid-Ask Spread Is So Important, Understanding Order Execution and The Basics Of Order Entry.)

If, for example, you were to see a relatively small number of 'A', or ask, numbers for the lower price levels in the table and then much larger ask numbers at higher price levels in the table, this would indicate that at that moment in time, there is a large supply of the stock available for sale at that higher price level. So, if the stock happens to be bid up to that level, it would need an even greater amount of buying pressure in order to consume all of the supply at the price and potentially move up to higher prices.

Unfortunately, the data provided for stocks on such exchanges as the Nasdaq changes so quickly that it is very difficult to analyze any sort of short-term price ceilings or floors in stock simply by looking at the BxA numbers. A look at the BxA analysis can be useful to obtain a rough idea of what kind of resistance (or support) a stock you are looking to trade has at a given price level. (To learn more, see Support & Resistance Basics.)

RELATED FAQS
  1. How are after hour trading rates determined?

    I am new to stock buying and I was just wondering that if I buy stocks after trading hours (normally 4.30 EST for NASDAQ) ... Read Answer >>
  2. What do the bid and ask prices represent on a stock quote?

    Learn what the bid and ask prices mean in a stock quote. Find out what represents supply and demand in the stock market and ... Read Answer >>
  3. What do the numbers that follow the bid and ask numbers in stock quotes represent? ...

    When looking at stock quotes, there are numbers following the bid and ask prices for a particular stock. These numbers usually ... Read Answer >>
  4. I don't understand how a stock has a trading price of 5.97, but when I buy it I have ...

    It might seem logical that the last traded price of a security is the price at which it would currently be trading, but this ... Read Answer >>
  5. Why are the bid prices of T-bills higher than the ask prices? Aren't bids supposed ...

    Yes, you are correct that the ask price of a security should typically be higher than the bid price. This is because people ... Read Answer >>
  6. How do day traders capture profits from the difference between bid and ask prices?

    Discover how day traders capture profits from the difference between bid and ask spreads. These spreads blow out during volatile ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Negotiating the Bid

    A bid is an offer investors make to buy a security.
  2. Trading

    What Does Bid And Asked Mean?

    Bid and asked is a two-way price quotation.
  3. Markets

    How Bid Price Affects Liquidity

    The bid price is the amount a buyer will pay for a security.
  4. Markets

    Stock Quotes Explained

    Curious about how stock quotes are compiled and what a trader should know about how? Read on.
  5. Investing

    The Basics Of The Bid-Ask Spread

    The bid-ask spread is essentially a negotiation in progress. To be successful, traders must be willing to take a stand and walk away in the bid-ask process through limit orders.
  6. Trading

    Making The Trade: Understand Order Types

    Buying and selling stock can be a lot like buying or selling a car. Traders should use and understand tools such as market orders, limit orders, day orders, and good-'til-canceled orders to ensure ...
  7. Trading

    The Basics Of Trading A Stock

    Taking control of your portfolio means knowing what orders to use when buying or selling stocks.
  8. Markets

    Understanding Stock Quotes

    All you need to know about understanding stock quotes.
  9. Markets

    How To Read A T-Bill Quote

    If you want buy and sell US Treasury bills, you need to learn to read the quotes.
  10. Markets

    Understanding Gold Quote Prices

    Willing to trade gold but puzzled by gold price quotes and terminology? Investopedia explains how to read gold price quotes.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Bid Price

    The price a buyer is willing to pay for a security. This is one ...
  2. Ask Size

    The amount of a security that a market maker is offering to sell ...
  3. Bid Size

    The number of shares being offered for purchase at a specified ...
  4. Price Improvement

    Attaining a higher bid price, if you are selling a stock, or ...
  5. Best Bid

    The highest quoted bid for a particular trading instrument among ...
  6. One-Sided Market

    When the market for a security only shows either one bid or one ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Bond Ladder

    A portfolio of fixed-income securities in which each security has a significantly different maturity date. The purpose of ...
  2. Duration

    A measure of the sensitivity of the price (the value of principal) of a fixed-income investment to a change in interest rates. ...
  3. Dove

    An economic policy advisor who promotes monetary policies that involve the maintenance of low interest rates, believing that ...
  4. Cyclical Stock

    An equity security whose price is affected by ups and downs in the overall economy. Cyclical stocks typically relate to companies ...
  5. Front Running

    The unethical practice of a broker trading an equity based on information from the analyst department before his or her clients ...
  6. After-Hours Trading - AHT

    Trading after regular trading hours on the major exchanges. The increasing popularity of electronic communication networks ...
Trading Center