What is an 'Order'

An order is an investor's instructions to a broker or brokerage firm to purchase or sell a security. Orders are typically placed over the phone or online. Orders fall into different available types which allow investors to place restrictions on their orders affecting the price and time at which the order can be executed. These order instructions will affect the investor's profit or loss on the transaction and, in some cases, whether the order is executed at all.


For example, a market order instructs the brokerage to complete the order at the next available price and by the end of the day. A limit order instructs the brokerage to buy or sell a security at or below a specified price. Limit orders remain in effect until they are executed, until the investor cancels them or until they expire. A day order must be executed during the same trading day that the order is placed, while a fill or kill order must be completed immediately and completely or not at all. These are just a few examples of time and price restrictions that can be placed on orders.