Trailing Stop Orders

A sell trailing stop order sets the stop price at a fixed amount below the market price with an attached "trailing" amount. As the market price rises, the stop price rises by the trail amount, but if the stock price falls, the stop loss price doesn't change, and a market order is submitted when the stop price is hit. This technique is designed to allow an investor to specify a limit on the maximum possible loss, without setting a limit on the maximum possible gain. "Buy" trailing stop orders are the mirror image of sell trailing stop orders, and are most appropriate for use in falling markets.

IB may simulate stop orders on exchanges. For details on how IB manages stop orders, click here.

Notes:

IB may simulate market orders on exchanges. For details on market order handling using simulated orders, click here.

The Reference Table to the upper right provides a general summary of the order type characteristics. The checked features are applicable in some combination, but do not necessarily work in conjunction with all other checked features. For example, if Options and Stocks, US and Non-US, and Smart and Directed are all checked, it does not follow that all US and Non-US Smart and direct-routed stocks support the order type. It may be the case that only Smart-routed US Stocks, direct-routed Non-US stocks and Smart-routed US Options are supported.


Products Availability Routing TWS
CFDs US Products Smart Attribute
EFPs Non-US Products Directed Order Type
Forex Time in Force
FOPs
Futures
Options
Stocks
Warrants
View Supported Exchanges|Open Users' Guide

Trailing Stop Orders in Mosaic & Classic TWS Short Video



For more short videos, see our IB Short Videos, Courses & Tours section

Mosaic Example

In this example, we are holding a position of 2,100 shares in ticker AA and want to minimize risk by entering a Stop order that will adjust higher in the event that the share price increases. Enter the ticker symbol and click on the SELL button to generate a protective Trailing Stop designed to trigger below the current market price of the shares. Note the red background for the Order Entry pane associated with sell orders. By default the background turns blue for buy orders.

Assumptions
Action SELL
Qty 2,100
Order Type TRAIL
Market Price 13.58
Trailing Amount 0.25
Stop Price (Calculated as Market Price – Trailing Amount) 13.33
Mosaic Trailing Stops Order

By clicking on the Position box, the entire position will automatically populate in the Quantity field. Alternatively, type in your desired position amount in the same field. Select TRAIL from the Order Type dropdown menu. You can enter a value in the STP field that is used as a static stop price. Note that there is a choice to enter a dollar amount or set a percentage of the prevailing bid/ask price for the Trailing stop amount. It is not necessary to enter a trigger value in the stop input field. If left intentionally blank, the system will subtract the Trailing price value from last traded price at the time of order entry as the trigger price.

Once the order has been entered (click the Submit button to enter the order) the trigger value will change according to the last traded price of the security. First let's assume that the share price falls to $13.25 immediately. In that event, when $13.25 trades, the system will automatically create a market order to sell the entire position.

But let's assume the share price remains above the Trailing Stop price and rises to $14.00. The stop price is recalculated according to the value of the last trade price such that the Trailing Stop price now becomes $13.75 or $14.00 minus 25-cents. If shares in ticker AA continue to rise to $14.25, the Trailing Stop becomes $14.00. The Trailing Stop price will continue to adjust according to the last traded price until the stop is triggered and the order filled.

Classic TWS Example

Trailing Stop Sell Order

Order Type In Depth - Trailing Stop Sell Order

Step 1 – Enter a Trailing Stop Sell Order

You have purchased 100 shares of XYZ for $66.34 per share (your Average Price) and want to lock in a profit and limit your loss. You set a trailing stop order with the trailing amount 20 cents below the current market price. To do this, first create a SELL order, then select TRAIL in the Type field and enter 0.20 in the Trailing Amt field. The trailing amount is the amount used to calculate the initial Stop Price, by which you want the limit price to trail the stop price. You submit the order.


Step 2 – Order Transmitted

You transmit your order. The current market price of XYZ is $62.46 and the initial stop price is calculated as $62.26, or $62.46 – the trailing amount of 0.20.

Assumptions
Avg Price 66.34
Action SELL
Qty 100
Order Type TRAIL
Market Price 62.46
Trailing Amount 0.20
Stop Price (Calculated as Market Price – Trailing Amount) 62.26

Step 3 – Market Price Rises

As soon as you submit your order, the price of XYZ starts to rise and hits $62.66. The trailing stop price has adjusted accordingly and is at $62.46, or $62.66 – the $0.20 trailing amount.

Assumptions
Avg Price 66.34
Action SELL
Qty 100
Order Type TRAIL
Market Price 62.66
Trailing Amount 0.20
Stop Price (Calculated as Market Price – Trailing Amount) 62.46

Step 4 – Market Price Falls

Suddenly the market price of XYZ drops to 62.56. Your stop price remains at 62.46. If the market price continues to drop and touches your stop price, the trailing stop order will be triggered, and a market order to sell 100 shares of XYZ will be submitted.

Assumptions
Avg Price 66.34
Action SELL
Qty 100
Order Type TRAIL
Market Price 62.56
Stop Price (Calculated as Market Price – Trailing Amount) 62.46

Step 5 – Market Price Touches Stop Price, Market Order Submitted

The market price of XYZ continues to drop and touches your stop price or 62.46. A market order to sell 100 shares of XYZ at 62.46 is submitted and filled. You have limited your loss to $388.00.

Assumptions
Avg Price 66.34
Action SELL
Qty 100
Order Type TRAIL
Market Price 62.46
Stop Price (Calculated as Market Price – Trailing Amount) 62.46
Order Filled at 62.46