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.


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.

  1. Limit Order

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

    A limit order book is a record of unexecuted limit orders maintained ...
  3. Stock Ahead

    A situation in which an order is placed, but not executed, because ...
  4. Above The Market

    An order to buy or sell at a price set higher than the current ...
  5. Sell Plus

    An order to sell a quantity of stock at a price that is above ...
  6. Stop Order

    A stop order is an order to buy or sell a security when its price ...
Related Articles
  1. 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 ...
  2. 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.
  1. 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 >>
  2. 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 >>
  3. 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 >>
  4. What's the difference between a stop and a limit order?

    A limit order is an order that sets the maximum or minimum at which you are willing to buy or sell a particular stock. With ... Read Answer >>
  5. What is the difference between a quote driven market and an order driven one?

    The difference between these two market systems lies in what is displayed in the market in terms of orders and bid and ask ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Liquidity

    Liquidity is the degree to which an asset or security can be quickly bought or sold in the market without affecting the asset's ...
  2. Federal Funds Rate

    The federal funds rate is the interest rate at which a depository institution lends funds maintained at the Federal Reserve ...
  3. Call Option

    An agreement that gives an investor the right (but not the obligation) to buy a stock, bond, commodity, or other instrument ...
  4. Standard Deviation

    A measure of the dispersion of a set of data from its mean, calculated as the square root of the variance. The more spread ...
  5. Entrepreneur

    An entrepreneur is an individual who founds and runs a small business and assumes all the risk and reward of the venture.
  6. Money Market

    The money market is a segment of the financial market in which financial instruments with high liquidity and very short maturities ...
Trading Center