Stocks: the anatomy of a great trade

When a company goes public, it sells stocks to raise money. A stock is a unit of ownership in a company. When you buy a stock, you become a partial owner of the company. Each stock represents a tiny part of the company. If a firm has 1,000 shares of stock and each share is worth $100, it is worth $100,000.


If you own one share of that company’s stock, you control 1/1000th of the entire business. Buying stocks is one way that people can invest money. When you buy stocks, you are buying part-ownership of a company, and you hope that the value of your stocks will go up over time so you can sell the stocks for more money than you paid for them.

How to trade stocks

When investors want to buy or sell a stock, they place an order with their broker. The order is then sent to the stock exchange, where the trade is executed. The exchange floor is where people and computers match up buy and sell orders.


The people who work on the exchange floor are called market makers because they make a market for the stocks that trade on their exchange. A market maker is always ready to buy or sell a stock at a set price. When someone wants to buy a stock from a market maker, they pay the asking price. When someone wants to sell a stock to a market maker, they receive the bid price.


The spread is the variation between the bid and asks prices. A narrow spread implies that the bid and ask prices are close, whereas a widespread implies a significant difference between the bid and ask prices.

Types of orders you can place when buying or selling stocks

You can place a few different orders when buying or selling stocks. The most common type of order is a market order, which means you buy or sell the stock at the current market price. A limit order means you set a specific price that you’re willing to pay for the stock or the minimum price you’re willing to accept if you’re selling. A stop order activates a market order once the stock reaches a specific price and is often used as a way to limit losses.


There are also more complex types of orders, such as trailing stop orders and bracket orders, but these are generally only used by more experienced investors. Ultimately, the type of order you choose will depend on your investment goals and strategies.

What happens when you buy or sell a stock?

Several things happen behind the scenes when you buy or sell a stock. It is critical to have a basic knowledge of the anatomy of a trade-in to comprehend how the stock market functions.


When you acquire a stock, you acquire a stake in a firm. It entitles you to vote on corporate issues and receive dividends if the firm makes them available. It would be ideal if you could locate someone willing to sell your stock to buy one. The person who sells stocks is known as a market maker.


The market maker will then match you up with another person looking to buy the same stock. This process is known as an exchange. The market maker will take a small fee for their services, known as the spread.


Once you have found a market maker and an exchange made, the trade is settled. The final step in the stock trade process is for the buyer and seller to complete their transactions. The whole process usually takes place within a few seconds.

The bottom line

When you purchase stocks, you are buying into a company’s future. You are investing your money in the hope that the company will do well in the future and that your investment will grow over time. It can be a risky proposition because there is no guarantee that any company will do well in the future, but there is also the potential for greatly compounded returns in the long term.