What is a 'Quote'

A quote is the last price at which a security or commodity traded, meaning the most recent price on which a buyer and seller agreed and at which some amount of the asset was transacted.

The bid or ask quotes are the most current prices and quantities at which the shares can be bought or sold. The bid quote shows the price and quantity at which a current buyer is willing to purchase the shares, while the ask shows what a current participant is willing to sell the shares for.

This is also known as an asset's "quoted price."


Quotes for stock and bond prices change throughout the trading day as new transactions occur one after another in a continual stream of trades. When a stock quote is referenced for a given company, it represents the most recent price at which a trade was successfully executed for that particular security.

Potential investors or sellers in a company are more concerned about the bid and ask quotes as they reflect at what prices the stock can be bought or sold, while the price quote as defined above shows the price at which the stock traded most recently.

Quotes as Part of an Investment Strategy

Historical quotes may be referenced by investors for the sake of examining potential trends in a security’s market activity and volatility. Quotes can be represented in a relation to an instance of time, allowing for comparisons with comparable periods. For instance, investors might reference quotes from the same day, one year apart in order to chart the potential trajectory for the security. They could also compare quotes across a day of trading, especially if there is volatility, in order to develop an investing strategy in response to the activity.

Quotes may be provided by a variety of outlets, such as investment news sites and trading platforms. There may be a delay in the reporting of such quotes, especially from free services that are public available. Trading and investing platforms may offer quotes as close to real-time as possible as a service to their subscribers. This may be especially crucial for subscribers who want to be able to make decisions on their trading activity as quotes become available. Investing platforms might also allow users to set up quote-driven alerts that are sent when shares cross certain thresholds. Such notifications can also be tied to automated responses. For example, an investor might put a sell order in place that is contingent on receiving a quote that shares of a security have reached a desired threshold.

  1. Level 1

    A Level 1 quote is the best real-time bid/ask at a given point ...
  2. Firm Quote

    A firm quote is a bid to buy or offer to sell a security or currency ...
  3. Bond Quote

    A bond quote is the price at which a bond is trading, typically ...
  4. Real Time

    Real time is when a system relays information to a user at a ...
  5. Quote Currency

    The quote currency is the second currency in both a direct and ...
  6. Buy Quote

    The best available price to buy a security at any given time ...
Related Articles
  1. Trading

    Day trading strategies for beginners

    This day trading tutorial covers general principles, deciding when to buy and sell, common day trading strategies and how to limit losses.
  2. Trading

    Understanding the spread in retail currency exchange rates

    Understanding how exchange rates are calculated and shopping around for the best rates may mitigate the effect of wide spreads in the retail forex market.
  3. Trading

    High-Frequency Trading: A Primer

    An in depth look at how high-frequency trading works and who the players are.
  4. Trading

    Automated Trading Systems: The Pros and Cons

    Automated trading systems minimize emotions, allow for faster order entry, lead to greater consistency and resolve "pilot error."
  5. Tech

    What Caused The Flash Crash?

    Investigators are still trying to figure out what went wrong on May 6, but it seems likely that the crash was caused by multiple interlocking failures.
  1. What do the numbers after the bid and ask numbers in stock quotes mean?

    These numbers are called the bid and ask sizes, and they represent the aggregate number of pending trades at the given bid ... Read Answer >>
  2. Quote driven and order driven markets: What's the difference?

    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 >>
  3. Why are the bid and ask quotes usually so far away from each other in after-hours ...

    The low volumes typically traded through after-hours trading systems can create wide bid-ask spreads. Read Answer >>
  4. If everyone is selling in a bear market, does your broker have to buy your shares ...

    Learn about who the counterparty to your trades is, and how your broker functions during a market sell off. Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Inflation

    Inflation is the rate at which prices for goods and services is rising and the worth of currency is dropping.
  2. Discount Rate

    Discount rate is the interest rate charged to commercial banks and other depository institutions for loans received from ...
  3. Economies of Scale

    Economies of scale refer to reduced costs per unit that arise from increased total output of a product. For example, a larger ...
  4. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet its short-term obligations with its most liquid assets.
  5. Leverage

    Leverage results from using borrowed capital as a source of funding when investing to expand the firm's asset base and generate ...
  6. Financial Risk

    Financial risk is the possibility that shareholders will lose money when investing in a company if its cash flow fails to ...
Trading Center