What is a 'Round Lot'

A round lot is a group of 100 shares of a stock, or any group of shares that can be evenly divided by 100, such as 500, 2,600 or 14,300. A round lot of 100 has historically been the smallest order that can be placed through an exchange. However, round-lot one allows for the execution of orders as small as one share on some exchanges. A round lot may also be referred to as a normal trading unit.

BREAKING DOWN 'Round Lot'

Investors typically purchase stocks in large batches, resulting in the need for round lot measurements. Round lots often have lower trading costs; discounts are applied for various round lot amounts.

Odd Lot

A lot consisting of fewer than 100 shares or a lot that cannot be evenly divided by 100 is called an odd lot. Sometimes odd lots are combined, or bunched, into round lots to facilitate trading. A mixed lot consists of both a round lot and an odd lot. An order of 198 shares would be considered a mixed lot. Odd lots or mixed lot trades typically incur higher trading costs, but improved electronic trading technologies have helped to reduce the added fees for odd lot trades.

In some cases, odd lot trades may not be allowed or may not be given priority. Some exchanges may require only round lots for prespecified market orders, including reserve orders. In these trading situations, orders are placed for trades at a specified transaction price, and preference is given for round lots.

Bond Trades

In bond trades, a round lot is usually $100,000 worth of bonds. Trades less than $100,000 or not divisible by $100,000 are considered to be odd lots and would incur higher trading costs. Trading innovation is ongoing in the bond market, and trading mechanisms are constantly evolving for odd lot trades and smaller blocks of bond trades.

Exchanges typically have rules and regulations regarding trades in round lots versus odd lots. Prices for these trades are mainly set by the exchanges that dictate pricing for the broker dealers. Additionally, broker dealers can be constrained to trading in round lots or odd lots on market exchanges. As market exchanges evolve, the availability for trading in odd lots is increasing.

Round lot and odd lot trades are often followed to determine the type of demand and volatility for a security. Securities with high odd lot trading are typically followed by small investors, while high levels of round lot trading usually indicate a security is highly traded by institutional investors.

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