What Is an Odd Lot? Definition in Trading and How They Arise

What Is an Odd Lot?

An odd lot is an order amount for a security that is less than the normal unit of trading for that particular asset. Odd lots are considered to be anything less than the standard 100 shares for stocks. Trading commissions for odd lots are generally higher on a percentage basis than those for standard lots since most brokerage firms have a fixed minimum commission level for undertaking such transactions.

Understanding Odd Lots

Odd lots may inadvertently arise in an investor's portfolio through reverse splits or dividend reinvestment plans. For example, a one-for-eight reverse split of a security, of which the investor holds 200 shares, will result in a post-split amount of 25 shares. While trading commissions for odd lots may still be higher than for standard lots on a percentage basis, the popularity of online trading platforms and the consequent plunge in brokerage commissions means that it is no longer as difficult or expensive for investors to dispose of odd lots as it used to be in the past. 

Key Takeaways

  • An odd lot refers to an order amount for a security that is less than the normal unit of trading for an asset, which is typically 100 shares for stocks.
  • Odd lots contrast with round lots, which are order amounts for a security that can be divided easily by 100.
  • Odd lots tend to emerge in a portfolio as a result of a company announcing a reverse stock split, or due to dividend reinvestment plans.
  • An odd lot order generally costs more due to higher commission levels and takes longer to complete than other orders.
  • Large companies view odd lots as pretty insignificant and may choose to eliminate such holdings by buying out the shareholder at a premium or offering the shareholder more stock to make a round lot.

Odd Lots, Round Lots, and Mixed Lots

While odd lots can include any number of shares between one and 100, a round lot is any lot of shares that can be evenly divided by 100. For example, 75 shares would be an odd lot since it is below 100 shares, while 300 shares would be counted as a round lot since it can be evenly divided by 100.

While round lots are posted on the associated exchange, odd lots are not posted as part of the bid/ask data. Further, the execution of odd-lot trades does not display on various data reporting sources. Due to the uncommon number of shares involved in the trade, odd-lot transactions often take longer to complete than those associated with round lots.

Mixed lots include lots with over 100 shares, but that cannot be evenly divided by 100. For example, 147 or 2,999 would both be mixed lots. Reporting on mixed lots, including bid/ask data, generally only displays the portion that constitutes a round lot. For example, using the aforementioned mixed-lot sizes, the 147 shares would report as 100 and the 2,999 shares would report as 2,900.

Issuing Company Actions on Odd Lots

Since an odd lot is considered fairly insignificant to larger institutions, a company may choose to eliminate any odd holdings from the marketplace. This can include buying out the associated shareholder at a premium, offering additional shares to the shareholder to create a round lot, or engaging in a reverse split designed to result in the odd lot becoming equivalent to less than one share to pay the investor cash for a residual holding.

Take the Next Step to Invest
The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where listings appear. Investopedia does not include all offers available in the marketplace.