DEFINITION of 'Alternative Order'
An investor mandate to buy or sell a particular stock or other financial instrument on what amounts to a first-come-first-served basis. For example, an investor might place an order to buy Acme Widgets at $10 and $5. If and when one of the orders is filled, the other order is automatically canceled.
Alternative orders are sometimes called "one-cancels-the-other orders."
BREAKING DOWN 'Alternative Order'
Some technical analysts favor alternative orders because they allow investors to buy and sell at specified levels that correspond with the analysts' perception of support and resistance. Alternative orders can also be used to buy different stocks. For example, an investor might place an alternative order to buy Stock A at $25, Stock B at $30 and Stock C at $35. Whichever stock reaches its buy point first, is the official order. Again, for technical analysts in particular, this type of order can be beneficial, as it hones in on stocks exhibiting a desired behavior.