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Trading FAQs: Placing Orders

Stocks

  • How do I place an order?

    Log in and choose a trade type lock_green, then select an account, symbol, and order type to start your order.

    Stocks-How-do-I-Place-Order
    For illustrative purposes only

  • How do I preview an order?

    Before you submit an order online, a preview screen allows you to review all the details of the order. You can edit or cancel the order before submitting it.

    Stocks-How-do-I-Preview-Order
    For illustrative purposes only

  • How is my order confirmed?

    Once your order is placed, an order confirmation screen which contains your order number and trade details will be displayed. You can print this confirmation for your records, or view it online after your order is placed. You can also receive a trade confirmation via email.

    Stocks-How-is-Order-Confirmed
    For illustrative purposes only

    The Order Status page is updated as soon as the order is executed. The trade confirmation is available online, on the next business day after execution of any buy or sell order, on your Statements page lock_green. It can also be mailed to you or sent by email.

    Stocks-How-is-Order-Confirmed2
    For illustrative purposes only

    If you do not have sufficient funds in your core account, you should not wait for the confirmation to reach you before mailing your payment or securities. Once you view or receive your confirmation, examine it carefully and advise us of any discrepancy immediately.

  • How do I review orders I have placed?

    Once you have placed an order, you can view its status online. View your portfolio lock_green and select Orders from the dropdown menu for your account. You can also view your order history or set up an alert to receive execution notifications.

  • How do I cancel, or cancel and replace an order?

    If the order has not yet been executed, you can attempt to either cancel, or cancel and replace it. You can cancel an order by logging into your portfolio lock_green and selecting Orders from the dropdown menu for the account.

    To cancel and replace an order, find the order that you would like to replace and choose Attempt to Cancel and Replace. On the following screen, you will be able to make changes to the order quantity, order type, price, time in force, and conditions.

    About canceling and replacing
    Orders are not canceled automatically by an identical order or an order at a different price for the same security. You must cancel a previous order if you place a substitute order. Fidelity cannot be responsible for any executed orders that you fail to cancel. A transaction resulting from a failure to cancel such an order will be applied to your account, and you will be responsible for that trade. Also, an attempt to cancel an order is subject to previous execution of that order. Cancellation requests are handled on a best-efforts basis. Confirmation of a cancellation order does not necessarily mean the previous order has been canceled, only that an attempt to cancel the order has been placed.

    By submitting a cancel and replace order, you are instructing Fidelity to cancel your prior order. Once we receive a verified cancel status for the original order, the replacement order is sent to the marketplace. Like Attempt to Cancel orders, Attempt to Cancel and Replace is subject to previous execution of the original order.

    Fidelity reserves the right (but is not obligated) to cancel open orders when the limit price becomes unrealistic in relation to the market price. A cancellation notice will be mailed to you promptly in this event, and you may place a new order if you wish. Additional market conditions may warrant a cancellation of your order without prior notification. Some examples include, but are not limited to, exchange rulings, stock delistments, erroneous executions, corporate actions, stock halts or other abnormal market conditions. Establish a Fidelity Alert lock_green to have notifications of trade events, including cancellations, emailed to you or sent to your mobile device.

  • Can I place orders when markets are closed?

    You can place your brokerage orders when markets are opened or closed. However, orders placed when the markets are closed are subject to market conditions existing when the markets reopen, unless trades are made during an extended hours trading. Note: all orders are valid only for that particular premarket or after-hour trading session. Any equity requirement necessary for trade approval will be based upon the most recent closing price of the security that you intend to buy or sell. Because of fluctuating conditions, the ultimate execution price may differ at times from the most recent closing price.

    For orders placed prior to market open, Fidelity may wait for the primary exchange to open before commencing trading in a particular security.

    Please use caution when placing orders while the market is closed. Securities may open sharply below or above where they closed the previous day. Fidelity reserves the right to refuse to accept any opening transaction for any reason, at its sole discretion.

  • Can I trade in extended hours?
    Yes, Fidelity offers extended hours trading, which allows Fidelity brokerage customers to trade certain stocks before and after the standard market hours. Learn more about extended hours trading.
  • How do I receive proceeds from sales?

    Fidelity will credit the proceeds of a sale to your core account on the settlement date. Proceeds will automatically be used to pay down any margin debt if you have any, and the balance will remain in your core account. You may also have a check for the proceeds mailed to you.

    Brokerage customers with Checkwriting may write checks against the proceeds of a sale on or after the settlement date. This amount is reflected in the Cash Available to Withdraw balance.

  • How do I pay for trades?

    Retirement accounts
    Trades placed in retirement accounts must be paid for from assets present in the core account at the time of placing the trade.

    Brokerage accounts
    Trades placed in a brokerage account are settled according to these rules:

    1. We will settle the trade with the balance in your core account if no other funds are received.
    2. If your core account balance is too low to cover the trade, you may:
      1. Add funds to your core account.
      2. Pay for your trade with your margin account, if you have one.* Your margin account will be used automatically if it contains sufficient marginable securities to pay for your purchase.

    To avoid using your core account balance to settle a trade, deposit additional money via electronic funds transfer, check, or wire transfer to Fidelity.

    Fidelity reserves the right to require 100% of the purchase price in your account to cover special purchases or first-time trades (e.g., stocks under $5, or one-day-settlement products). Retirement accounts are not eligible for margin.

    * We reserve the right to require equity of up to 100% of the proposed trade's value in any account. Fidelity may waive this requirement for customers with previous Fidelity credit history or mutual fund assets on deposit. First-time traders with Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, are required to deposit at least 25% of the value of the trade. Retirement accounts require 100% of the proposed trade's value at the time the trade is placed.
  • How do I deposit securities to my Fidelity Account®?

    Endorse the certificates exactly as they are registered on the face. The registration must correspond with the name as shown on your brokerage account.

    Write "to National Financial Services LLC" on the line between "appoint" and "attorney" on the back of your certificate. (National Financial Services LLC is the clearing agent for Fidelity Investments.) Write your brokerage account number on the top right face of the certificates.

    Only originals (no photocopies) are acceptable. Make sure to keep all paperwork together in the same package.

    Send the certificates to this address:

    • Fidelity Investments
      Attn: Banking Services
      Mail Zone KC1N
      100 Crosby Parkway
      Covington, KY 41015

    For security, you may send your certificates by registered mail.

    Securities not in good order
    Securities that are not in good order are not negotiable, and proceeds from their sale cannot be released to you until the certificates have cleared transfer.

  • What are the order settlement dates?

    The settlement date is the day on which payment for securities bought or certificates for securities sold must be in your account. Settlement dates vary from investment to investment; please see the table below for details.

    When you buy a security, payment must reach Fidelity by the settlement date.

    When you sell a security, Fidelity will credit your account for the sale on the settlement date.

    For options and other securities settling in one day, you must have sufficient cash or margin equity in your account when your order is placed.

    Settlement times by security type

  • What are market-wide circuit breakers?

    The securities markets have circuit breakers that will halt trading in all securities for a period of time in the event of a severe market decline. In the event of a decrease in the S&P 500 Index at pre-defined circuit breaker levels, securities will be temporarily halted at each circuit breaker level once per day.

    Circuit breaker level S&P 500 Index decline percentage Market impact
    1 7% 15 minute trading halt*
    2 13% 15 minute trading halt*
    3 20% Trading halted for all securities until the next trading day

    *Please note, level 1 and 2 circuit breakers do not halt trading after 3:25 PM ET.

    Fidelity routes your stock orders to various market centers/exchanges, which may differ in the way they will be handling orders during periods of time when a market-wide circuit breaker is in effect. Fidelity will continue to communicate the status of any open trades via the Orders page of your portfolio. However, due to market/security volatility, the status of your order may be delayed.

  • What are individual stock price bands (Limit Up-Limit Down)?

    In order to address extraordinary market volatility in individual securities, the securities markets have also implemented a Limit Up-Limit Down mechanism that will prevent trades in certain stocks from occurring outside of specified price bands.

    Trades for individual exchange-listed or National Market System (NMS) stocks will be prohibited from occurring at a set percentage higher or lower than the average security price in the preceding five minutes during certain market hours. The following has been effective since December 8, 2013:

    Securities included Trading hours Average security price Price band percentage Price band percentage during market open/close*
    All NMS stocks, excluding rights and warrants (Tier 2) 9:30 a.m. ET – 4:00 p.m. ET More than $3.00 10%** 20%
    $0.75 and up to and including $3.00 20% 40%
    Less than $0.75 Lesser of $0.15 or 75% $0.30 or 150% (upper band only)
    * Price band percentages will generally be doubled at the market open (9:30 a.m. ET – 9:45 a.m. ET) and at the market close (3:35 p.m. ET – 4:00 p.m. ET) to accommodate more typical trading patterns during those time periods.
    ** Tier 1 securities (stocks in the S&P 500 Index, Russell 1000 Index and certain ETPs) priced over $3.00 utilize a 5% price band.

     

    Fidelity routes your stock orders to various market centers/exchanges, which may differ in the way they will be handling orders during periods of time when a Limit Up-Limit Down halt is in effect. Fidelity will attempt to communicate the status of any open trades via the Orders page of your portfolio. However, due to market/security volatility, the status of your order may be delayed.

    Options order handling

    Options trading is not subject to the Limit Up-Limit Down price bands. However, options market centers/exchanges have modified their trading rules to accommodate the impact of Limit Up-Limit Down on underlying securities. In certain circumstances, options market centers/exchanges will halt trading in related options in conjunction with stock exchanges when a stock has been halted in response to Limit Up-Limit Down procedures. During Limit Up-Limit Down conditions, options exchanges may accept or reject option market orders entered during the halt depending on the trading state of the underlying security.

Mutual Funds

  • How do I buy, sell, or sell to buy mutual funds?

    Placing a mutual fund trade online is easy. The order isn't "official" until you review all the information and click Place Order.

    There's never a commission for Fidelity mutual fund trades, though other fees and expenses may apply. See the fund's current prospectus for details. You can place a mutual fund trade anytime.1

  • Where is the mutual fund trading screen?

    The mutual fund trading screen can be found by following this path: Accounts & Trade > Trade tab (log in required) > Trade Mutual Funds (in the table of contents).

  • How do I place a trade?

    You have three options for placing a trade:

    1. You can buy a mutual fund.
    2. You can sell a mutual fund you own.
    3. You can sell a mutual fund you own, and use the proceeds to buy a mutual fund within the same family (exchange) or from a different fund family (cross family trade).

    MF-How-Do-I-Place-Trade
    For illustrative purposes only

  • How do I preview my order?

    After entering information about the fund you want to buy or sell, click Preview Order to review your order before you place it. You can change or cancel your order on the Order Verification page.

    MF-How-Do-I-Preview-Order
    For illustrative purposes only

  • Where is my order confirmation?

    After you place your trade, the confirmation screen confirms the trade details. Print this screen, or note the confirmation number. You can also receive a trade confirmation via e-mail.

    MF-How-is-Order-Confirmed
    For illustrative purposes only

  • How do I cancel an order?

    You can attempt to cancel an unexecuted order after it has been placed. To do this, go to the Orders page, select your order, and choose Cancel.

    You must request a cancellation of your order before the closing price is calculated. For Fidelity Funds, the Attempt to Cancel has to be initiated before 4 p.m. on the day of the trade. Pricing times for non-Fidelity funds vary. To check pricing rules, see the fund's prospectus.

    MF-How-Do-I-Cancel-Order
    For illustrative purposes only

  • How are funds priced?

    Mutual funds are priced based on the next available price. For Fidelity funds that price daily, the next available price is calculated based on the 4 p.m. market close. Non-Fidelity funds may have different policies. See the fund's prospectus for more information.

  • Do I need to "sell" from my Core account to create cash for my mutual fund purchase?

    You do not need to "sell" from your Core account to create cash to purchase a mutual fund. For brokerage accounts, the trade will settle automatically if there is enough cash available in your Core account.

  • What's a fund family?

    A group of mutual funds, each typically with its own investment objective, managed and distributed by the same company.

  • Can I sell a non-Fidelity fund and buy a Fidelity fund with the proceeds?

    You can sell a non-Fidelity fund and buy a Fidelity fund with the proceeds. This type of transaction is called a cross family trade, where you sell mutual fund assets in one mutual fund family to purchase mutual fund assets in a different fund family. The settlement date for the sale portion of the transaction is one business day later than the trade date. Therefore, the purchase takes place on the next business day following the sale. On the sale of your mutual funds, you will receive the next available price, and on the purchase of your mutual funds, you will receive the next business day's price.

  • What is Fidelity's Excessive Trading Policy?

    Fidelity has long discouraged excessive trading by mutual fund investors. Excessive trading can be expensive and burdensome for long-term shareholders. Read the full policy.

Order execution

  • How do I know at what price my order will get executed?

    This depends on what type of security you are trading. See the Mutual Funds section above for information about mutual fund pricing.

    For equity and options trading, the execution price you’ll receive will be dependent on a number of factors. For many equities and options, the most recent price might be from seconds ago, though it could be minutes, hours or even days, for less liquid securities. Instead of relying on the most recent, last trading price, a better indication is the bid price and ask price. The ask price is often referred to as the offer price.

    The NBBO (National Best Bid and Offer) is a consolidated quote that represents the highest bid and lowest offer for a security across all exchanges and/or market centers. It is updated continuously during market hours. Along with the bid price and ask price, there is also an indication of size, representing how many shares are willing to be bought (bid size) and sold (ask size) at those prices. For equities, the size indicated should be multiplied by 100. A bid size of 5 actually represents 500 shares willing to be purchased at the bid price.

    If you are placing a market order (hoping to receive the next available price), the NBBO is an indication of the price you could receive. For buy orders, the best offer price is the best indication of the price at which an order is likely to be filled. The best bid price is the best indication of the price at which a sell order will be filled. However, if the size of your buy order is larger than the size available at the ask, you should expect that some of your order might execute at a price higher than the ask.

    In addition, there are various market conditions that can cause orders to be executed at better or worse prices than the bid and ask. While the bid and ask price are displayed to investors and other market participants, there can also be non-displayed orders at, inside, or outside of the bid and ask prices. There is the potential that your order will execute against a non-displayed order that is resting between the bid and ask, which could improve your execution price. For orders placed prior to market open, Fidelity may wait for the primary exchange to open before commencing trading in a particular security. Also, in fast market conditions, there could be orders ahead of yours that deplete all available shares at the bid or ask, moving prices in or out of your favor by the time you place your trade. News events, market volatility, market outages, and other circumstances can all impact the execution price that you receive. You should always use caution with market orders as securities prices can change sharply.

  • What is price improvement?

    Price improvement occurs when a market center is able to execute a trade at a price lower than the ask (for buy orders) or higher than the bid (for sell orders). It is associated with trades that are immediately marketable (limit orders that can immediately execute based on current market prices, as well as market orders). In addition to measuring execution speed and the likelihood of your order being filled in its entirety, we strive to send orders to venues that are most likely to be able to price improve orders.

  • What types of orders are eligible for price improvement?

    Equity, single-leg option, and multi-leg option trades can receive price improvement. Equity and single leg option orders that are executed while the market is open will display an estimate of the total dollar value of price improvement that you received, if any, based on the bid ask at the time your order was submitted. If your order is not immediately marketable, for instance if you place a limit or stop order away from the current bid ask, the price improvement indication will not be displayed. This is because as seconds or minutes pass, market conditions change, and your execution price is more a reflection of those changing conditions than it is of true price improvement.

  • How is the price improvement indication calculated?

    For buy orders, the price improvement indicator is calculated as the difference between the best offer price at the time your order was placed and your execution price, multiplied by the number of shares executed. Due to the time difference between when your order is placed versus when it is executed, the best offer price may be different at each of these times. This price improvement calculation should be considered informational and is not used for regulatory reporting purposes.2

    • For example, if the bid ask was $49.95-$50.00 at the time you placed your order, and your trade to buy 300 shares executed at $49.99, you received a price improvement of $3.00, compared to the ask price of $50.00.

    For sell orders, the price improvement indicator is calculated as the difference between the bid price at the time your order was placed and your execution price, multiplied by the number of shares executed. As noted above, the bid price at the time of order entry may be different from the bid price at the time of order execution; therefore, the price improvement indication may differ from the actual price improvement that your order may receive.

    • For example, if the bid ask is $49.95-$50.00 at the time you placed your order, and your trade to sell 300 shares executed at $49.97, you have received a price improvement of $6.00, compared to the bid price of $49.95.

    In order to help ensure that order execution is the top priority, the quoted bid-ask is captured separately from the trade execution process. In rare instances, the quote may not be captured for the price improvement indication calculation by the time the order is executed. When this happens, the price improvement indication will not be calculated on your order.

    Depending on the price per share and the liquidity of the security, price improvements can be bigger or smaller than the examples provided.

    For stock and option orders with wide bid-ask spreads, there is a wider range of prices at which your order could execute inside of the spread. With more room between the bid price and ask price, there is the potential, though not a guarantee, that the execution price will be more significantly below the ask or above the bid than for products with tighter bid-ask spreads. In such cases, the price improvement indicator may appear larger than usual. Market conditions are a large contributing factor to the amount of the price improvement indication in these instances.

  • What does Fidelity do to ensure the best execution price on my orders?

    Fidelity works to ensure that orders receive the best possible execution price by routing orders to a number of competing market centers. This is done by supervising order-flow routing activities, monitoring execution quality, and taking corrective action when venues aren't able to meet our quality standards. To learn more, see our Commitment to Execution Quality.

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Settlement Times by Security Type

Investment type Purchase settlement period1, 2 Sales settlement period1, 2 Exceptions
Listed equities3 3 business days 3 business days  
OTC (over the counter)3 3 business days 3 business days  
Options 1 business day 1 business day  
Fidelity money market funds Same day Same day  
Fidelity bond funds 1 business day 1 business day  
Fidelity equity funds 1 business day 1 business day  
Non-Fidelity funds4 Varies Varies Depends on fund family, usually 1–3 days. Next-day settlement for exchanges within same families. Funds cannot be sold until after settlement.
Municipal bonds 3 business days 3 business days New issues may take 1–3 weeks
Corporate bonds and zeros 3 business days 3 business days  
Unit investment trusts 3 business days 3 business days  
Mortgage securities4 Varies Varies Depends on the time of the month the trade is placed
U.S. Treasuries and zeros 1 business day 1 business day Except for auction orders, which may take longer
Agency bonds 1 business day 1 business day
Certificates of deposit Wednesday of the following trade week 3 business days
Precious metals 2 business days 2 business days
Note: Some security types listed in the table may not be traded online.
1. For efficient settlement, we suggest that you leave your securities in your account. Brokerage regulations may require us to close out trades that are not settled promptly, and any losses that may occur are your responsibility. There is a $15 Late Payment Fee. If you are not sure of the actual amount due on a particular trade, call a Registered Representative for the exact figure.
2. Saturdays, Sundays, and stock exchange holidays are not business days and therefore cannot be settlement days. Exchanges are sometimes open during bank holidays, and settlements typically are not made on those days.
3. When you place a trade for all shares in a stock, we liquidate the fractional shares at the same execution price on the settlement date. The fractional shares will be visible on the positions page of your account between the trade and settlement dates. We do not charge a commission for selling fractional shares.
4. Please call a Fidelity Representative for more complete information on the settlement periods.
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National Market System (NMS)

a security that is not listed with an exchange, but trades "over the counter" under the sponsorship of the NASD

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ask price

the lowest price at which a security is offered for sale; also called the offer price

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bid price

the highest price that a prospective buyer is willing to pay for a security

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exchange-listed

a security that is listed with and trades on an exchange such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

Questions?

More Information

  • Fidelity Learning Center

    Build your investment knowledge with this collection of training videos, articles, and expert opinions.

1. You can place brokerage orders when markets are opened or closed. However, orders placed when the markets are closed are subject to market conditions existing when the markets next open. Any equity requirement necessary for trade approval will be based upon the most recent closing price of the security that you intend to buy or sell. Because of fluctuating conditions, the ultimate execution price may differ at times from the most recent closing price.
2. Price improvement statistics used for regulatory reporting purposes for SEC Rule 605 are based on the percentage of shares executed better than the prevailing NBBO at the time the order was executed.
When placing orders when markets are closed, carefully consider any limitation you may wish to place on the transaction. Fidelity reserves the right to refuse to accept any opening transaction for any reason, at its sole discretion. See more information about trading during extended hours.
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