What do the numbers that follow the bid and ask numbers in stock quotes represent?

By Matt Lee AAA
A:

When looking at stock quotes, there are numbers following the bid and ask prices for a particular stock. These numbers usually are shown in brackets, and they represent the number of shares, in lots of 10 or 100, that are limit orders pending trade. These numbers are called the bid and ask sizes, and represent the aggregate number of pending trades at the given bid and ask price.

For example, assume we get a stock quote for ZXC Corp. and we see a bid of $15.30 (25), and an ask of $15.50 (10). The bid price is the highest bid entered to purchase ZXC stock, while the ask price is the lowest price entered for this same stock. As you can see, there are numbers following the bid and ask prices, and these are the number of shares that are pending trade at their respective prices. At the current limit bid price of $15.30, there are 2,500 shares being offered for purchase, in aggregation. The aggregation is for all bid orders being entered at that bid price, no matter if the bids are coming from one person bidding for 2,500 shares, or 2,500 people bidding for one share each. The same is true for the numbers following the ask price.

If these orders are not carried out during the trading day, then they may be carried over into the next trading day provided that they are not day orders. If these bid and ask orders are day orders, then they will be canceled at the end of the trading day if they are not filled. The spread between these two prices is called the bid-ask spread. If an investor purchases shares in ZXC, he or she would pay $15.50. If this same investor subsequently liquidated these shares, they would be sold for $15.30. The difference is a loss to the investor.

To learn more, see Why The Bid-Ask Spread Is So Important, Reading Financial Tables and Stocks Basics: How To Read A Stock Table/Quote.

RELATED FAQS

  1. Why is the execution of a limit order not guaranteed?

    Using a limit order to buy a stock can be helpful in securing certain prices, but the mechanics of a limit order can decrease ...
  2. What strategies are used in a redemption mechanism?

    Find out how the ETF redemption mechanism works and how authorized participants arbitrage ETF shares to bring them in line ...
  3. What does the efficient market hypothesis assume about fair value?

    Found out what the efficient market hypothesis says about the fair value of securities, and learn why technical and fundamental ...
  4. How do I implement a forex strategy when spotting a Triple Bottom Pattern?

    Learn about the triple bottom pattern and how it is used to create effective trade strategy in the forex market, including ...
RELATED TERMS
  1. Indicator

    Indicators are statistics used to measure current conditions ...
  2. Intraday Momentum Index (IMI)

    A technical indicator that combines aspects of candlestick analysis ...
  3. Market Value

    The price an asset would fetch in the marketplace. Market value ...
  4. Acquisition

    A corporate action in which a company buys most, if not all, ...
  5. International Finance Corporation

    The International Finance Corporation is an organization dedicated ...
  6. International Finance

    Definition of international finance

You May Also Like

Related Articles
  1. Active Trading Fundamentals

    Why is the execution of a limit order ...

  2. Trading Strategies

    Know How To Manage Gaps On Your Trading ...

  3. Charts & Patterns

    Why These Are 2015's Most-Promising ...

  4. Chart Advisor

    Trade Healthcare Providers with this ...

  5. Fundamental Analysis

    Is Apple's Stock Over Valued Or Undervalued?

Trading Center