Learn More About Bid and Ask Spread

How does this work in trading?

The best price sellers and buyers in the market are eager to deal at is the bid and ask. In other words, the terms “bid” and “ask” relate to the best price at which a security can now be sold or purchased.

The distinction between the asking price and the bid price for specific securities is known as the bid-ask spread. The asking price is the lowest amount a seller is willing to accept, while the bid price indicates the most excellent price a buyer is eager to pay for the security.

Because supply and demand are met in the stock market, a buyer will pay the asking price, and a seller will receive the bid price. The bid-ask spread is a transaction fee that benefits the market maker, a middleman who maintains order on the market.

The bid-ask spread is a significant expense for investors, even though it could appear unimportant or straightforward to miss. It might even represent a substantial portion of the trade’s value in extreme circumstances. The bid-ask spread is something active traders should particularly pay attention to.

How to calculate Bid-Ask Spread

The bid-ask spread, for instance, would be $0.05 for a stock with a $100 bid price and an asking price of $100.05. Another way to express the spread is as a percentage of the asking price, in this case, 0.05 percent.

The bid-ask spread value

Even though you might not have given the bid-ask spread in stocks much thought, it can be useful information. Here is what it signifies in various market circumstances:

Broad markets

It is well knowledge that markets with a broad bid-ask spread are less liquid than ones with a narrow spread. Lack of strong levels of supply and demand, or easy matching of buy and sell orders, causes the spread to grow. The market maker receives compensation for the illiquidity in the form of a greater spread that reflects the increased transaction cost.

narrow marketplaces

On the other hand, markets with a small or narrow bid-ask spread are frequently quite liquid and have a large number of buy and sell orders from dealers. Due to the large supply and demand for their shares, widely traded stocks like Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon have narrow spreads. Finding a buyer or a seller for the stocks of these kinds of blue-chip corporations is fairly simple for market makers. On the other hand, due to the lack of investor interest, small-cap stocks or more obscure companies may have higher spreads.

How bid-ask spread connects to liquidity

The variances in liquidity between the assets drive the differences in bid-ask spreads from one security to the next or even between asset classes. For example, small- and micro-cap stocks often have a greater bid-ask spread than well-known, liquid large-cap stocks do on the stock market.

Despite the bond market being larger overall, liquidity may decrease as you transition from the stock market to it, increasing bid-ask spreads.


Conclusively, the bid-ask spread is a vital factor when purchasing or selling an asset, especially if the security is a low-liquidity investment. In some assets, such as large-cap stocks, the gap may be so small that it hardly registers, whereas, in other securities, such as micro-cap stocks or some bonds, the spread may account for a significant portion of the asset’s price.