What is 'Most Active'

Most active are the stocks on an exchange that had the highest volume over a given period. The most common time period used to evaluate a stock’s activity is a single trading day.


Most active is a designation that signifies the stocks that have achieved the highest level of trading activity, as measured by volume, for a given day or other specified time period. While this activity can often be prompted by changes in price, a price variation is not necessarily a requirement for a stock to be in the most active category. Popular companies such as PayPal, Roku and Broadcom are among the consistent players on the most active lists for 2017 and early 2018.

Most active vs. active stocks

While the terms “active stocks” and “most active stocks” may seem very similar, they are often used to mean somewhat different things. The “active” descriptor simply means there is literally a lot of trading activity involving that particular stock through the course of the day. An active stock is doing lots of volume, and this is a trend that can fluctuate depending on a variety of factors such as price, company performance and any new or timely developments that generate interest in the company or its products and services. Many stocks consistently stay in an “active” state because they are trading at high volume levels all day long.

Indexes and exchanges like the NASDAQ Composite and the New York Stock Exchange) will usually list a compilation of their most active stocks for that day, along with a list of the most declined stocks. These lists are sometimes also dubbed with other nicknames, such as winners and losers or hot and cold stocks.

This daily activity report often breaks the updates down further by dividing them into categories, such as the most active by share volume and most active by dollar volume. Financial analysts and websites will then often compile this daily data into a monthly or yearly report, which identifies the highest traded stocks over the course of that period, usually as evaluated by volume.

Generally, most-active stocks are those with the most shares traded over one day. Usually, stocks experience higher-than-normal trading volume due to significantly important new information affecting the stock reaching the market. This creates a strong impetus amongt investors to either buy or sell the stock, resulting in heavier trading volume, and often strong momentum in the stock as well.

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