Trading made simple: How to trade stocks and ETFs

Get familiar with trading at Fidelity.

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Watch just how easy it is to place a stock and ETF trade with tips on how to choose an order type and order duration.

Check out additional resources:


Step-by-step guide

1. Select the account you want to trade in.
2. Enter the trading symbol.
3. Select Buy or Sell.
4. Choose between Dollars and Shares, then enter an amount.

5. Choose an order type:  Market or Limit. Use the definitions to help make a choice. Read more about using order types 

6. For limit orders, decide how long the order will stay open. Day or Good 'til Canceled (GTC). Use the definitions to help make a choice.


After you've entered these details, preview your order and if all looks good, click Place Order and you're done placing your trade.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Order types

  • What are trading orders?

    An order provides direction on how you want your trade executed.

  • How do I know which order type to use?

    Different order types can affect the time and price at which you might buy or sell. Which order type to choose will generally be determined by your investing strategy and goals for the trade. When entering your trade, you will be prompted to specify the type of order you would like to make.

  • What is a market order?

    A market order is the quickest way to place a trade by executing at the next available price when the market is opened. Market orders put priority on execution, but do not guarantee price.

  • What is a limit order?

    A limit order sets the maximum price at which you’re willing to buy or the minimum price at which you’re willing to sell. Limit orders target price, but do not guarantee execution.

Time in force

  • What is time in force?

    Time in force (also known as order duration) is how long you'd like an order to stay open before it is executed or it expires. These are several types of time-in-force orders: day orders, fill or kill (FOK), immediate or cancel (IOC), and good 'til canceled (GTC).

  • What is a day order?

    A day order is an order that cancels the trade if it is not executed by the close of the trading day.

  • What is a good 'til canceled (GtC) order?

    A good 'til canceled order is a time-in-force limitation that can be placed on a stock or ETF order and defaults to an order expiration date of 180 calendar days from the order entry date at 4:00 p.m. ET. You may select your own order expiration date and/or time, up to 180 calendar days from the order entry date. If all or part of your order is not executed by the date and/or time you've selected for expiration, any open portions of your order will be canceled.

Settlement

  • After a trade is placed, when do I actually own the stock or get the money?

    After a trade is placed you will generally own the stock, exchange-traded fund, or option in 1 or 2 business days, depending on the security traded. If selling a security, you will also receive your money within 1 or 2 business days.

  • What is the settlement date?

    The settlement date is when your trade is completed and the money for the trade is actually debited or credited to your account.

  • What happens on the settlement date?

    On the settlement date securities that you bought, or any cash that you got if you sold securities, is all yours and will appear in your account for you to hold onto or initiate a new trade.

  • How long does it take for a stock, ETF, or options trade to settle?

    Settlement dates vary depending on the investment. Stock and ETF trades settle 2 business days after the trade date, also described as T+2. Options settle 1 business day after the trade date, T+1. For example, if you place an order to buy a call option that is executed on Tuesday, you will see your account debited to pay for the transaction or credited from the proceeds of a sell on Wednesday.

  • Why is the trade settlement date important?

    The trade settlement date is important because it is the date when you actually own the stock or exchange-traded fund you've bought, or if you've sold a security, it's the date when you can expect to access the cash from the sale.

Trading violations

Next steps to consider



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