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Bid and Ask

Bid and Ask

What Is Bid and Ask?

The term "bid and ask" (otherwise called "bid and offer") alludes to a two-way price quotation that shows the best expected price at which a security can be sold and bought at a given point in time. The bid price addresses the maximum price that a buyer will pay for a share of stock or other security. The ask price addresses the base price that a seller will take for that equivalent security. A trade or transaction happens when a buyer in the market will pay the best offer accessible — or will sell at the highest bid.

The difference among bid and ask prices, or the spread, is a key indicator of the liquidity of the asset. As a rule, the smaller the spread, the better the liquidity.

Figuring out Bid and Ask

The average investor battles with the bid and ask spread as an implied cost of trading. For instance, if the current price quotation for the stock of ABC Corp. is $10.50/$10.55, investor X, who is hoping to buy An at the current market price, would pay $10.55, while investor Y, who wishes to sell ABC shares at the current market price, would receive $10.50.

Who Benefits from the Bid-Ask Spread?

The bid-ask spread works to the advantage of the market maker. Continuing with the above model, a market maker who is providing a cost estimate of $10.50/$10.55 for ABC stock is showing an eagerness to buy An at $10.50 (the bid price) and sell it at $10.55 (the asked price). The spread addresses the market maker's profit.

Bid-ask spreads can change widely, contingent upon the security and the market. Blue-chip companies that comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average may have a bid-ask spread of a couple of pennies, while a small-cap stock that trades under 10,000 shares a day might have a bid-ask spread of 50 pennies or more.

The bid-ask spread can extend decisively during periods of illiquidity or market unrest, since traders can not pay a price past a certain threshold, and sellers may not acknowledge prices below a certain level.


  • The ask price alludes to the most reduced price a seller will acknowledge for a security.
  • The difference between these two prices is known as the spread; the smaller the spread, the greater the liquidity of the given security.
  • The bid price alludes to the highest price a buyer will pay for a security.


What Is the Difference Between a Bid Price and an Ask Price?

Bid prices allude to the highest price that traders will pay for a security. The ask price, then again, alludes to the most reduced price that the owners of that security will sell it for. In the event that, for instance, a stock is trading with an ask price of $20, then, at that point, a person wishing to buy that stock would have to offer something like $20 to purchase it at the present price. The gap between the bid and ask prices is frequently alluded to as the bid-ask spread.

What's the significance here When the Bid and Ask Are Close Together?

At the point when the bid and ask prices are exceptionally close, this normally means that there is more than adequate liquidity in the security. In this scenario, the security is said to have a "narrow" bid-ask spread. This situation can be useful for investors since it makes it simpler to enter or exit their positions, especially on account of large positions. Then again, securities with a "wide" bid-ask spread — that is, where the bid and ask prices are far separated — can be tedious and costly to trade.

How Are the Bid and Ask Prices Determined?

Bid and ask prices are set by the market. Specifically, they are set by the real buying and selling choices of individuals and institutions who invest in that security. In the event that demand exceeds supply, the bid and ask prices will steadily shift upwards. Alternately, in the event that supply surpasses demand, bid and ask prices will drift downwards. The spread between the bid and ask prices is determined by the overall level of trading activity in the security, with higher activity leading to narrow bid-ask spreads and vice versa.