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What is a bid/ask spread?

What is a bid/ask spread?

It should be mentioned that there are two methods to make a purchase through an online auction: either you buy the object instantly for the price that the vendor will provide, or you can submit a bid where you establish your own price. Therefore you must pick between the best price and a quick transaction.

Financial markets aren’t an exemption. Each stock or option transaction has a demand price, which is the seller’s minimum price. There is also an offer price, which is the most the buyer is ready to spend.

Almost invariably, the bid price is lower than the ask price. The bid/ask spread is the difference between the prices of bid and ask. A narrow bid/ask spread typically suggests great demand, whereas a broad bid and ask spread usually indicates that this commodity is traded by fewer individuals.

The bid/ask prices: who set prices

Market participants play a vital role in guaranteeing the profitability of financial markets, which means that you may buy and sell with ease and speed. A market maker’s primary responsibility is to identify possible buyers and sellers. It would be considerably more difficult to purchase and sell when you want and at a reasonable price if market makers did not organize transactions.

It is not always feasible to locate the best solution at the best moment. Market makers assist in buying when others are unwilling to purchase and selling when no one wants to sell. Market makers are compensated for this, with their share equal to the difference between the buy and sell prices.


The bid/ask spread for a specific commodity can vary substantially depending on bid and ask. A tight bid/ask spread often signals high profitability. Pay attention to liquidity since, among other things, illiquid options with a big bid/ask spread might lower your potential profit.

Working with option orders

When you buy and sell options, your option will be exercised at the ask price (if you buy) or the offer price (if you sell). This is often referred to as the natural price.

While looking for the greatest price, you may decide whether to offer a lower price (if you buy) or a higher price (if you sell). Some dealers must attempt to get their order filled at the average price, often known as the mark. That is equal to half the difference between the buy and selling prices.

The benefit of the mark price is that you’ll spend less (if you are a buyer) or receive more (if you are a seller). If you wish to buy, just like in a virtual auction, upping your bid increases your chances of winning the auction. A lower asking price enhances the possibility of a profitable sale.

Price selection

Natural pricing is the default setting for option trading. This implies that the demand price (when selling) or the offer price will be pre-filled in your order (when buying)

But, you have the option of setting the default price to either the natural or market price. The advantage of using the market price is that it allows you to work on your order and maybe acquire the greatest price for your contract. Another possibility is that you may have to wait longer for your order to be fulfilled, and it may never be executed. It’s worth noting that you may always change the price of your order by canceling and replacing it.

Types of orders

You can use a limit order or a stop limit when making your order:

A limit order allows you to specify the highest (or lower) price at which you are interested in buying or the lowest (or higher) price at which you are willing to sell.

A stop limit order contains a limit order when a specified price, known as the stop price, is achieved.

It should be noted that limit order execution is not guaranteed. Both the buyer and seller must take part in the transaction. If there aren’t enough contracts available at your limit price, it will take multiple transactions to complete the order, or it may not be completed at all.

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