Stock trading orders explained: Iceberg, ATC, GTW, GTM, Limit

Pinoy Money Talk

Confused about various types of stock trading orders? What are Market Order, Limit Order, All-or-None, GTC, GTW, GTM, and Iceberg orders?

Don’t fret. These are just some options you have regarding trades offered to you by your stock trading platform. We’re here to explain all of them so you can understand these types of trading orders.

1. Market Order

The most common type, a Market Order is a stock trading order to buy or sell immediately at the best available price. A trade executed at Market Order is consummated at the current stock price. Simply speaking, if you input a buy or sell trade, it will execute your transaction at the best available bid or ask price in the market.

Take note that a price difference might exist between the time the trade is entered and the time the order is actually executed. For example, you called your live broker (stockbroker person) to purchase for you 1,000 shares of Philex Mining Corporation (Stock Code: PX) which is is currently trading at P4.00 per share. But when the broker actually executes your market order, the price of PX could have been P4.20. You order will then be processed and executed at P4.20 since your order is a Market Order.

2. Limit Order

Compared to a Market Order, a Limit Order sets the maximum or minimum price at which you are willing to buy or sell a stock.

For example, let’s assume that the stock price of Now Corporation (Stock Code: NOW) is currently P11.00. You want to purchase NOW shares but you do not want to pay more than P10.50 per share. You could wait for the stock price to fall to P10.50 or alternatively execute a Limit Order using your online trading platform to buy NOW shares at P10.50.

NOW may trade at any price above P10.50, but your order will not be executed. But the moment its stock price hits P10.50, your order will then be automatically matched.

Given that example, you can already see that a Limit Order has risks. If NOW’s stock price hits P10.50, your order will be executed even if you are not online. The risk is that if the price continues to decline, you automatically incur a paper loss because the limit order has been executed.  For example, if your limit order was executed at P10.50 but the stock continued its decline to P9.00, you will then incur a paper loss of P1.50 per share.

3. All-or-None Order

An All-or-None Order basically allows you to buy the entire quantity of stock you requested or none at all. It instructs your broker not to execute the trade unless it will be done in a single transaction. It is usually used to minimize transaction fees or to ensure that all stocks are bought at a single price.

If you are a customer of BPI Trade, First Metro Securities, AB Capital Securities, and other brokerage firms using the Technistock trading platform, you probably have seen Day, GTW, and GTM order options. We briefly explain all three below.

4. Day Order

From its name, a Day Order is a stock trading order valid for the day. If a Day Order is not executed within the day, the order expires and will no longer be valid during the next trading day.

5. Good Till End-of-Week (GTW) Order

As opposed to a Day Order, a GTW or “Good ’til the end of the week” order remains open until it is finally executed or after seven (7) calendar days, whichever is shorter. If the order is unmatched after 7 calendar days, the buy or sell order is automatically cancelled.

6. Good Till End-of-Month (GTM) Order

Just like GTW, a GTM or “Good ’til the end of the month” order is valid until executed or, this time, until after thirty (30) calendar days. The order is automatically cancelled if the order is not matched within 30 days.

If you’re using COL Financial (CitisecOnline), you probably have seen additional trading options: GTC and ATC orders. We explain these two below.

5. Good Till Canceled (GTC) Order

A Good Till Canceled (GTC) order simply remains open in succeeding trading days until it is finally executed or canceled. Be cautious when using GTC orders because you might forget about your open orders and might just be surprised that an order has been processed.

As a protective measure, GTC orders in COL are valid for 60 days and will be automatically cancelled if not matched or manually cancelled by the user after 60 days.

6. At the Close (ATC) Order

An At-the-Close (ATC) order is simply a transaction order to buy or sell a stock at the price equivalent to its closing price, hence “at the close”. ATC orders are processed during the Run-off period, right before the Philippine Stock Exchange closes for the day.

7. Iceberg Order


Finally, an Iceberg order is a large single order that has been divided into smaller lots, primary used for the purpose of hiding the actual order quantity which might tip off the market.

Iceberg orders are also called “Disclosed Quantity Orders” (Disc. Qty) and are successively entered in the Central Order Book and disclosed to the public at specified tranches. In the Philippines, the disclosed quantity cannot be less than the specified percentage set by the PSE.

An Iceberg order is useful, for example, when a large institutional stockholder intends to dispose a huge number of shares of a specific company. For instance, instead of selling 1 million shares in a single transaction, the investor may decide to break this down into selling volumes of 100,000 each in order to not cause panic in the market.

Similarly, if the investor wishes to purchase a huge number of stocks without alerting the market, it could elect to execute an Iceberg order. Instead of buying 200,000 shares in a single trade, when the average trading volume for example is just 10,000, the buyer could use an iceberg order to divide the 200,000 volume into lots of 10,000.

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Pinoy Money Talk is an educational website about money, banking, investments, and personal finance which started in 2005. Its group of five writers consists of one equity research analyst, one fintech startup owner, one finance educator, and two investment professionals.