Below the Market

What Is Below the Market?

"Below the market" can refer to any type of order price, purchase, or investment that is made at a price below the market price. In investment trading, a below-the-market order is a limit order to buy or sell a security at a price that is lower than the current market price.

In broader terms, below the market can also be a price or rate that is lower than the current prevailing conditions in an open market—in other words, something that is underpriced. Goods or services that are offered at a lower price than the "going," or typical rate, can be said to be below the market.

Below the market can be contrasted with above the market.

Key Takeaways

  • Below the market refers to a price or order that is lower than the current market price.
  • Common below the market order types include limit orders to buy, stop orders to sell, and stop-limit orders to sell.
  • Something that is trading below the market may also be interpreted as being underpriced.
  • The opposite of below the market is above the market, where a price or order is higher than the current market price.

Understanding Below the Market

Below the market purchases are an advantage to the buyer because they are able to obtain goods, services, or investments at a price that is lower than the going rate. Below the market is a common term that can be used by investors and investment traders.

If something is priced below the market, it implies that it is underpriced, making it a relatively good deal (or "on sale"). Assets that trade a discount may thus be below the market. A loan may offer a below-the-market rate, suggesting its interest rate is lower than prevailing rates on similar loans.

Traders and investors will also often place conditional orders to purchase securities or assets at a price that is currently below the market, hoping to purchase if and when the price declines.

Below the Market Trade Orders

Traders and investors may have several platforms available when seeking to execute a trade. Institutional investors can often access a variety of public and non-public trading centers. Retail investors will typically execute their trades through a discount brokerage platform or contact their broker for placing a trade. In nearly all of these situations, each investor has the option to choose the maximum price they are willing to pay.

In a below-the-market order, an investor who wants to try to achieve a better price or position may enter an order to buy securities at a price that is below the market. Generally, trading platforms will specify an order with a designated price as a limit order.

Example of Below the Market Order

Let's say you are ready to buy shares of XYZ. You open your online trading account and see that XYZ is trading at $50 per share. Because your analysis says that XYZ is worth $49, you put a limit buy order of XYZ at $49. This is below the market and the most you will pay for your shares if they execute.

With a limit order. the investor communicates a maximum price they are willing to pay to purchase a security. Placing a below-the-market limit order will have a much higher risk of being unfulfilled in the open market. If the day’s price on the specified security never falls below its current trading price or if it increases, the limit order will not be placed and the investor takes no ownership in the security. For this reason, a limit order can mean there is a limited success of getting filled.

However, if the limit order to buy is filled, the order will be placed at the specified price. In some trades, only a portion of the shares may be purchased if the broker is not able to identify sellers for the entire size requested. If this happens, it is referred to as a partial fill.

Limit orders that allow investors to specify a below-the-market price for buying a security will differ from standard market orders. Standard market orders are generally a trading platform’s default order type. With a standard market order, an investor in a highly liquid stock would usually obtain the desired number of shares immediately at the current market price.

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