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.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Limit Order

    An order placed with a brokerage to buy or sell a set number ...
  2. Order

    An investor's instructions to a broker or brokerage firm to purchase ...
  3. Bracketed Buy Order

    A buy order that is accompanied by a sell limit order above the ...
  4. Buy Limit Order

    An order to purchase a security at or below a specified price. ...
  5. Away From The Market

    An expression that is used when the bid on a limit order is lower ...
  6. At The Highest Possible Price

    A type of security trading designation that instructs a brokerage ...
Related Articles
  1. Trading

    The Basics Of Trading A Stock

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

    Explaining Market Orders

    A market order is the most common order used to purchase a financial security.
  3. Trading

    Understanding Order Execution

    Find out the various ways in which a broker can fill an order, which can affect costs.
  4. Investing

    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 ...
  5. Trading

    Which Order To Use? Stop-Loss Or Stop-Limit Orders

    Stop-loss and stop-limit orders can provide different types of protection for investors seeking to lock in profits or limit losses. Investors need to know how each type of order works to know ...
  6. Trading

    How To Place Orders With A Forex Broker

    Learn how to set each type of stop and limit when trading currencies.
  7. Trading

    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.
  8. Investing

    Narrow Your Range With Stop-Limit Orders

    With stop-limit orders, buyers protect themselves from prices too high for their tastes.
  9. Investing

    Understanding Buy Stop Orders

    A buy stop order is an order to buy a stock at a specific price above its current market price.
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. How do I place a buy limit order if I want to buy a stock during an initial public ...

    Learn how to place a buy limit order to buy a stock during an IPO. IPOs can be full of risks, and buy limit orders are one ... Read Answer >>
  6. 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 >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Cover Letter

    A written document submitted with a job application explaining the applicant's credentials and interest in the open position. ...
  2. 403(b) Plan

    A retirement plan for certain employees of public schools, tax-exempt organizations and certain ministers. Generally, retirement ...
  3. Master Of Business Administration - MBA

    A graduate degree achieved at a university or college that provides theoretical and practical training to help graduates ...
  4. Liquidity Event

    An event that allows initial investors in a company to cash out some or all of their ownership shares and is considered an ...
  5. Job Market

    A market in which employers search for employees and employees search for jobs. The job market is not a physical place as ...
  6. Yuppie

    Yuppie is a slang term denoting the market segment of young urban professionals. A yuppie is often characterized by youth, ...
Trading Center