DEFINITION of 'Most Active List'
A listing of stocks with the highest trading volumes on a specific exchange over a defined period, most commonly one day. The most active lists in the U.S. and Canada generally comprise the most widely followed stocks on their benchmark indexes, such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 in the U.S., and the TSX/S&P Composite Index in Canada. Other constituents of the most active list on an exchange may often have had some important information released about them that day, resulting in trading volumes that are well above average.
BREAKING DOWN 'Most Active List'
The price change for stocks on the most active list can be positive or negative, and sometimes even close to zero. In a strong bull market, however, the majority of the stocks on the most active list will generally have positive price changes. In an unrelenting bear market, the most active list will be dominated by stocks with negative price changes.
Unfamiliar names usually pop up on the most active list during earnings season. These stocks are ones that have either exceeded or missed earnings estimates, resulting in abnormally-heavy trading volumes.