There are a few ways to approach stop orders – and placing them manually. Each have their positive and negatives.
Let’s say you’re the market is trading 45/46 (45bid and 46offered). You have your buy stop at 50.
Method 1: Hit the offer
As soon as the market goes higher and 50 is the best offer, trade out at market.
- Pro: You are guaranteed a fill
- Con: It might not have even traded 50 and you would have got out too soon.
Method 2: Wait for the trade, hit market.
Wait for 50 to trade then go to market at the best price.
- Pro: You are guaranteed a fill.
- Con: It might be trading higher by the time you do this and you’ll get slippage.
Method 3: Wait for the trade, work the bid.
After 50 trades, place your bid at 50 and wait.
- Pro: No slippage if filled.
- Con: No guarantee of a fill. The market may run through your price and keep going.
There is no one single way to place a stop. It depends on market conditions, volume and momentum. If you’re trading on the simulator, practice all of these styles and think about when you should be using one over the other.
As for automated stop features (most platforms have them), master the above styles first, then use the automated features.