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More information about trading stocks


What type of stock do I want?

Common stock

A security that represents ownership in a corporation.

Stock holders exercise control by electing a board of directors and voting on corporate policy. If the company liquidates, however, common stockholders receive assets only after bondholders, preferred stockholders, and other debt holders have been paid in full.

Preferred stock

Stock that takes precedence over common stock when dividends are paid or assets are liquidated. A preferred security doesn't usually carry voting rights.

IPO (initial public offering)

A corporation's first offering of common stock to the public. You can place IPO orders with us on the morning the security is scheduled to trade on the secondary market. Vanguard Brokerage doesn't accept market orders for IPOs before they open.

Foreign stock

A stock traded on a local (foreign) exchange. Vanguard Brokerage Services® may act as an agent for foreign stock trades, which are settled in U.S. dollars.

What type of order should I place?

Day order

An order to buy or sell stocks that will expire automatically at the end of the trading day unless it's executed or canceled. All orders are day orders unless otherwise specified.

Market order

An order to buy or sell a stock at the best available price. The order is likely to execute immediately if the stock is actively traded and market conditions permit. The execution price isn't guaranteed and can vary during volatile markets.

Limit order

An order to buy or sell a security at a specified price (limit price) or better. The execution isn't guaranteed.

Stop (stop-loss) order

An order that triggers a market order once a specified stock price (the stop price) is reached. This order may execute at a price significantly different from the stop price depending on market conditions.

Stop-limit order

An order to buy or sell a security at a limit price or better once a specified price (the stop price) is reached. The limit price should be at or below the stop price for a sale and at or above the stop price for a purchase.

Extended-hours order

A limit order can only be placed in the extended-hour session (4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Eastern time). If it doesn't execute, the order is automatically canceled at the end of the session.

Good-till-canceled (GTC) order

An order to buy or sell stocks that remains open for 60 days after the business day on which the order was placed, or until the order is executed or canceled. If this day falls on a weekend or holiday, the order will be canceled on the next business day before the market opens.

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