Order Imbalance

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Order Imbalance'

A situation resulting from an excess of buy or sell orders for a specific security on a trading exchange, making it impossible to match the buyers' and sellers' orders. For securities that are overseen by a market maker or specialist, shares may be brought in from a specified reserve to add liquidity, temporarily clearing out excess orders from the inventory so that the trading in the security can resume at an orderly level. Extreme cases of order imbalance may cause suspension of trading until the imbalance is resolved.


INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Order Imbalance'

Order imbalances can often occur when major news hits a stock, such as an earnings release, change in guidance, or merger and acquisition activity. Imbalances can move securities to the upside or downside, but most imbalances get worked out within a few minutes or hours in one daily session. Smaller, less liquid securities can have imbalances that last longer than a single trading session because there are fewer shares in the hands of fewer people.

Investors can protect themselves against the volatile price changes that can arise from order imbalances by using limit orders when placing trades, rather than market orders.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Limit Order

    An order placed with a brokerage to buy or sell a set number ...
  2. Buyers/Sellers On Balance

    1. A ratio based on aggregate market orders for securities that ...
  3. Ask Size

    The amount of a security that a market maker is offering to sell ...
  4. Ask

    The price a seller is willing to accept for a security, also ...
  5. Bid Size

    The number of shares being offered for purchase at a specified ...
  6. Bid

    1. An offer made by an investor, a trader or a dealer to buy ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What's the difference between a stop and a limit order?

    Different types of orders allow you to be more specific about how you'd like your broker to fulfill your trades. When you ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Do stop or limit orders protect you against gaps in a stock's price?

    Many individuals are hesitant to invest in the stock market because of the large gaps in prices talked about in the news. ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Investing Basics

    Understanding Order Execution

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

    How Brokers Can Avoid A Market-Maker's Tricks

    Ensure that you and your clients are getting the best deal by avoiding these three pitfalls.
  3. Active Trading Fundamentals

    The Stop-Loss Order - Make Sure You Use It

    It's a simple but powerful tool to help you implement your stock-investment strategy. Find out how.
  4. Investing Basics

    Explaining Market Value of Equity

    Market value of equity is the total value of all the outstanding stock as measured in the stock market at a particular time.
  5. Investing Basics

    What is Spread?

    Spread has several slightly different meanings depending on the context. Generally, spread refers to the difference between two comparable measures.
  6. Economics

    What is the Breakeven Point?

    In general, when gains or revenue earned equals the money spent to earn the gains or revenue, you’ve hit the breakeven point.
  7. Stock Analysis

    What is the Price-to-Sales Ratio?

    The price-to-sales ratio is an indicator of the value placed on each dollar of a company’s sales or revenues.
  8. Options & Futures

    The Basics Of Trading S&P 500 Price Progression

    The S&P 500 index futures contract works exceptionally well as a road map for short-term market timing and direction.
  9. Investing Basics

    What is Treasury Stock?

    Treasury stock is a company’s own stock that it holds in its treasury for later use.
  10. Investing Basics

    What is a Mid-Cap?

    Mid-cap companies are those with a market capitalization between two and $10 billion.

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Income Effect

    In the context of economic theory, the income effect is the change in an individual's or economy's income and how that change ...
  2. Price-To-Sales Ratio - PSR

    A valuation ratio that compares a company’s stock price to its revenues. The price-to-sales ratio is an indicator of the ...
  3. Hurdle Rate

    The minimum rate of return on a project or investment required by a manager or investor. In order to compensate for risk, ...
  4. Market Value

    The price an asset would fetch in the marketplace. Market value is also commonly used to refer to the market capitalization ...
  5. Preference Shares

    Company stock with dividends that are paid to shareholders before common stock dividends are paid out. In the event of a ...
  6. Accrued Interest

    1. A term used to describe an accrual accounting method when interest that is either payable or receivable has been recognized, ...
Trading Center