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What is the difference between a limit order and market order?

A limit order specifies the maximum an investor is prepared to pay (in the case of a purchase) or the minimum an investor is prepared to receive (in the case of a sale) for a security.

Such an order enables the investor to retain control over the price obtained, but it is possible that the order will never be executed if the price of the security does not reach the defined limit (or if the limit is reached without being exceeded and the order rank is too far down the queue according to the order of priority).

A market order enables the investor to acquire or dispose of a security at the best price available at the time of sending.

Such an order is usually quickly executed, but investors have less control over the price they will receive.

Watch this tutorial to learn how to place a limit or market order with NBDB. It is also possible to do so via our direct brokerage app.

How do I determine whether to place a limit or market order? Learn more in the "How is a stock price defined?" section of our Stock Market 101 article.

Welcome to National Bank Direct Brokerage and thank you for joining us to learn how to place a buy order on our trading platform. Once signed in you will notice four buttons on the right-hand side of the page, one of which is the buy button. Please note that they will always be present regardless of which section you navigate to.


By clicking on the buy button a trade ticket will appear, let’s take a few moments to look over the trade ticket. We can change it to sell from buy, we can select the account that we wish to make the purchase in. Once selected the cash balance is now shown and in our case this is a margin account. We also have the buying power as well.

The default setting for the type of investment is stocks and etfs but from the same trade ticket you can also trade investment funds previously known as mutual funds, options and fixed income securities as well.


The next step is to type in the name or symbol of the security you want to purchase for our example we will select National Bank of Canada symbol NA and once selected you will notice that the trade ticket has become a lot more active. I now have a full name and symbol and the flag before the symbol shows you the security trades on a canadian or u.s exchange.


On the right hand side of the trade ticket we have a real-time quote with the bid and ask price and number of shares available at that price and other useful information that can be refreshed by clicking here. Now the next step is to indicate the quantity which will be one share.


NBDB clients can also select the condensed version of the trade ticket by clicking on the double arrows shown here. One advantage of this view is that you can continue to navigate throughout the platform while having the trade ticket open. Also by clicking here you can minimize it as well to free up additional space.


Now if you wish to go back to the default view simply click on the double arrows again.


Going back to our transaction the next step is to select the price type clients of National Bank Direct Brokerage have three options. The two most commonly used are market and limit orders.

Let's begin with limit order or limit price which allows the investor to specify the maximum price that they are willing to pay to purchase the security. In other words you want to purchase a security at a price that is less than the current price. This also means that there is a chance your order may not go through if the security doesn't reach your price.

Let's go ahead with our example, currently National Bank is trading at about 90 dollars but let's say that 87 is the max price that I want to pay. In the limit box i'll type in 87 and

then i'd need to select how long the order is good till, by default it's a day order but I can select a specific date up to 60 days out.


Click on the calendar icon to select your date then submit the order. A new screen will then pop up called order summary which will give you a second chance to review the order. On the right hand side you'll notice that the approximate transaction value is shown and our zero commission pricing.

If everything is correct, then the last step is to click on confirm and send order. If actually sent the order will remain open until it's filled or will expire if the price isn't reached now let's go back to our trade ticket so we can place a market order.


This time the price type will be at market a market order means you want to purchase your stock right away at the current market price. Click on submit and we are now in the order summary which we've already viewed. If no changes are required, then we simply click on confirm and send order. We are now in the current orders window and here we have our order that has been filled and at which price.


Let's also go to our account holding section where we can see that our one share is now included in the portfolio. This concludes our video on how to make your first purchase with National Bank Direct Brokerage for any additional information please view our other youtube videos or reach us by our secure messaging center

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