At The Market

DEFINITION of 'At The Market'

An order to buy or sell a stock or futures contract at the prevailing market bid or ask price at the time the order is processed. An at-the-market order is generally executed within minutes of being received and can be placed anytime during market hours. If such an order is received after regular hours, it will be executed as soon as trading resumes.

BREAKING DOWN 'At The Market'

Generally one buys or sells at the market to assure that the desired transaction takes place. When an investor places an order at the market, he or she is willing to forgo price discrimination for speediness of entry to or exit from a futures contract.
During raging bull markets, buy limit orders (orders that are only fulfilled at the limit price or lower) often don't get executed. Likewise, sell limit orders (orders that are only fulfilled at the limit price or higher) are often unconsummated during bear markets. Both scenarios can cause considerable angst to investors.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. What's the difference between a market order and a limit order?

    Buy and sell trades with market orders at the present stock price and execute limit orders if the stock price falls within ... Read Answer >>
  2. How do I place a limit order online?

    Learn how a limit order is placed, the types of stocks it is most useful for and the specifications placed with it to suit ... Read Answer >>
  3. Why do limit orders cost more than market orders?

    Learn the difference between a market order and a limit order, and why a trader placing a limit order pays higher fees than ... Read Answer >>
  4. What is the difference between a stop and a market order?

    Learn about market orders and stop orders, how they are used and executed, and the main difference between stop orders and ... Read Answer >>
  5. 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 ... Read Answer >>
  6. What are the advantages of a limit order over a market order?

    Understand the functional differences between a limit order and a market order and the respective advantages and disadvantages ... Read Answer >>
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