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What is Bid And Ask Spread In Stock And Options Trading

Novice traders are confused to see Bid and Ask when they trade options in their trading account. In this article you will learn what is Bid And Ask Spread In Options Trading.

Ok let me start here. Have you ever walked in a bank and did you see this? USD Sell price and Buy Price? Did you notice that sell price is always higher then buy price? Why because banks cannot make money if they buy and sell USD at the same price.

When a trade is going on in a market place there has to be some kind of negotiation. This depends a lot on supply and demand.

Supply is how many people are willing to sell that stock or option in a market place.
Demand is how many are willing to buy.

If there is a big gap between the supply and demand the spread between the bid and ask will be wider.

If there is not much gap between the supply and demand the spread between the bid and ask will be smaller.

Live Example of Supply and Demand Working

Assume that stock markets are open for trading. There is one stock XYZ which bagged a project worth millions. Obviously the company’s stock demand will increase. Assuming that its price currently is 300 in the market place.

Let us assume that there is just one seller and one buyer for that stock.

Stock at 300. Seller keeps the sell price at 301 in “Limit Order”. When a seller keeps a price to sell he is “Asking” a price to sell. Therefore Sell price is the “ASK” in Ask and Bid.

The buyer sees the Ask price at 301, but wants to negotiate. If he hits “Market Order”, he will get the stock for 301, however he wants to buy thousands of stocks so wants to negotiate the price.

He keeps the buy price at 300.50. Buy price is the “BID” price in Ask and Bid.

If none of them changes their price the stock will not be sold.

However after some time let us assume that some bad news has come in the stock and one more seller pops us and sets the sell price or Ask price at 300.60 (seeing the Bid at 300.50).

Note that the Best Bid and the Best Ask prices are shown to everyone in the market place so that no one is cheated.

After some time another seller pops up and is in a hurry to sell his stocks in panic. He keeps “Market Order” and hits submit. The share gets sold at 300.50 as this was the best BID price at that time in the market.

Hope it is clear now:

1. What is Ask and Bid price.
2. Why there is a difference between Ask and Bid price.
3. The price difference between Ask and Bid price is called the Ask and Bid price spread.
4. The Ask and Bid price spread is wider if traders are less for that stock at that time, and
5. The Ask and Bid price spread is smaller if traders are more for that stock at that time.

Same is applied in derivative (Futures and Options) trading too.

If you have any questions please write in the comments section below.

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Hi, I am Dilip Shaw, owner of this website. I am a trader like you. I have been trading since 2007, but lost a lot of money till 2010. I then stopped trading and studied options like college exams. Started trading again from 2011 and never looked back since. I did a lot of research, read books and did countless paper-trading before being profitable. You can read about me here.

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About the author: I started trading stock markets since 2007. However my first 3 years were losses. Then I dedicated almost 1 year on studying, researching, paper trading options and learned a lot in that time. Since 2011 I am trading Nifty options profitably. Call me if you need any help trading options on 9051143004.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Mathad R. V September 13, 2017, 3:46 pm

    sir Basically i dont know how to do intraday please guide me the procedure

    • Dilip Shaw September 13, 2017, 8:54 pm

      Mathad though very popular among traders all over the world – day trading has its own pros and cons. It needs proper planning and cash management. The only way out is to practice with a small amount then if you see success then increase your risk. This way you will make sure the losses in the initial stage will be small, but then when you learn the tricks of day trading you can earn a lot.

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