What Is a Stop-Loss Order?: A Complete Guide

Aug 08, 2022 By Triston Martin


What Is a Stop-Loss Order? There are various terms for stop orders, including stop-loss orders, limit orders, and take-profit orders. These terms refer to a direction to buy and sell a certain amount of securities at a specific price. Once the stop price is reached, the stop order becomes a market order. A buy-stop order is placed when the stop price is higher than the current market price. Short-sellers commonly use a buy-stop order to protect their profits or minimize losses. The sell stop order is issued if the stop price is lower than the market price. Investors commonly use a sell-stop order to limit their losses or protect their investment profits from a stock they own.

Investors' Perspectives

The price at which a stop order is executed is not the price at which the order's execution is guaranteed. As a result, your stop-order is transformed into a market when the stop price reaches a certain level. Depending on the volatility of a market, the price an investor pays for this order may be significantly different from the price of the stop order. By putting in a stop limit order, investors can lessen the chance that their stop order will be executed at an unexpected price.

A stop-limit purchase can prevent an order from ever being fulfilled because the price limit is so high. An intraday price change that results in an execution price lower than the closing price can be achieved to activate a stop order. Traders should consider the likelihood of rapid price movements when using stop orders or deciding the price at which to stop orders.

Stop Loss Order Advantages

  • Different brokerage houses use different criteria to determine whether or not a stop price has been hit. When setting stop orders, some brokerage houses use quotation prices, while others use last-sale prices. Clients can contact brokerage firms to determine the criteria for stopping orders.
  • Putting in a stop loss order has the primary advantage of being completely free. Your average commission is due when the stop-loss price is reached, and the stock has to be removed from the market. An order for stop-loss can be viewed as a free insurance policy.
  • Stop-loss orders also eliminate the need to monitor your stocks' performance daily. This can be extremely helpful when you're on vacation or in a situation where you can't keep an eye on your stocks for an extended period of time.
  • Your decisions can be shielded from the influence of emotions if you use stop-loss orders. Stocks can be addictive for some people. Some investors may believe the price will rise if they give the stock another chance. Realistically, though, this extra time could cost you money.
  • Whatever group you're a part of, you need to be able to articulate why you've made a financial commitment. While growth investors have different criteria than value investors, traders on the move have different criteria than value investors. Stop-loss orders can help you stay on the right path and prevent your judgment from being clouded by your emotions.
  • Finally, it's critical to understand that using stop-loss orders does not imply that you will profit from trading stocks. In the end, you'll still need to make well-informed financial decisions. Without a stop-loss, you'll lose precisely the same amount of money.

Stop-Loss Orders Drawbacks

  • Short-term fluctuations could be mistaken for a halt in the market's movement. Stop-loss orders present one of the most perplexing challenges. It is possible to activate a stop-loss option in a volatile market, only to see it rise again.
  • There is no set rate and no rules for determining a rate. A prudent investor knows that to avoid losses, they must find a rate that is both stable and unaffected by short-term fluctuations in price.
  • A share's Stop-Loss Price Cannot Be Its Sale Price In the stock market, prices can change in minutes. There is a chance that once the stop price is reached, the price that is locked in and the price at which shares are sold may be different. That's because when an investor reaches the stop price, the order transforms into a "market" order, and the price at which it is sold could be lower than the price the investor had locked in.


When used correctly, a stop-loss purchase is a simple tool that can yield significant rewards. Almost every investor can benefit from this strategy, limiting their losses or locking in their gains.

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