When it comes to searching for highly liquid and easily tradable stocks, volume is essential. Volume is simply the number of shares traded between buyers and sellers within a specific time frame. It is determined over any given period of time, but is generally expressed as a daily trading volume. When it comes to trading, particularly for day traders, high volume is crucial, as the higher the volume the more liquid the security is. If you own a stock that has extremely low daily volume, it may be difficult to get rid of in a short timeframe.
Spread is another characteristic affected by volume. The spread is the difference between the bid and ask price for a stock. If a stock has low volume the difference between the bid and ask is usually larger than a stock with high volume. Volume is not the only characteristic that effects the stocks spread, but does play a major role. Volume is also an indicator used in technical analysis. It allows traders to determine the worth of the uptick or downtick the stock experiences. As a general rule of thumb, the higher the volume is during the movement of the stock the more significant the move. The volume on a stock is always changing and depending on the news released, what was once a stock that traded with low volume can now be substantially higher and vice versa. The stocks below seem to rank near the top of the list on a consistent basis.
SEE: How To Use Volume To Improve Your Trading
Bank of America (BAC)
Founded in 1874, Bank of America is one of the nation's largest financial institutions. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, it currently has approximately 5,700 banking centers, nearly 18,000 ATMs and employs roughly 279 thousand full time employees. The average daily trading volume over the past 3 months has been over 238 million, currently ranking it at the top of the list. The highest volume that BAC traded in one market session was on Oct. 20, 2010, in the height of the financial crisis. That day over 655 million BAC shares traded hands.
General Electric (GE)
Most people relate General Electric to household appliances, although GE has expanded way beyond that into military equipment, medical devices, jet engines, loans, credit cards and even television network NBC, which also owns the popular business news channel CNBC. With about a $208 billion market cap and a healthy 3.5% dividend yield, GE's average trading volume falls around 48.4 million. GE's most active trading day in early March 2009, pushed the trading volume to nearly 753 million.
SEE: You Don't Know Jack Welch
JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM)
With trading volume exceeding 45 million per day, on average, JP Morgan is another powerhouse in the financial industry. Headquartered in the Big Apple, JPM was founded in 1823 and has over 260,000 full-time employees. On June 2, 2009, JPM shares traded over 159 million times, making it the largest trading day in its 189-year history.
SEE: The Kingpin Of Wall Street: J.P. Morgan
MSFT was the only stock trading on the Nasdaq that made the list. Microsoft was founded in 1975 by Bill Gates. The Windows operating system (formerly MS-DOS) designed by Microsoft has made Bill Gates one of the richest men in the world and the licensing deal he struck back in 1981 with IBM has been touted as one of the greatest deals ever made. Microsoft today has an average trading volume near 45 million and traded over 176 million shares in one trading session back in April 1991. MSFT is one of the few companies, especially among tech companies, that have maintained a consistent level of volume in the market.
Nokia recently lost the title of the world's largest maker of mobile phones to Samsung, after an approximate 14-year run. The company has accepted and made public that its once global domination is now deteriorating. Within the last few years, smartphone makers like Apple, Samsung and Google's Android system have been chipping away at Nokia's market share as they have watched from the sidelines.
Although Nokia has teamed up with Microsoft to launch the Microsoft Windows phones, it has still struggled to remain a player in the competitive industry. This tech company still trades on average 41 million shares a day, but the current price tag around $2.30 a share is very different from the high $50 price tag it once held.
The Bottom Line
Volume is not related to the price at which a stock trades. It does however play a role in technical analysis and is often looked over as a vital indicator. If you're looking for a stock with impeccable liquidity then the stocks above will highly meet those criteria.