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Buy to Cover


“Buy to Cover” is a trading command typically used in short selling transactions. In this context, it refers to the decision to purchase a certain quantity of stock to close out an equivalent short position. It’s used when a short seller wants to return the borrowed stocks and profit from a decrease in the share price.


The phonetics of “Buy to Cover” would be /bai tuː kʌvər/.

Key Takeaways

  1. Definition: Buy to Cover is a term used in stock market trading that refers to a trader buying a stock or other trading instrument to close an existing short position. Essentially, buying to cover involves buying the same stock that one has previously sold short in order to close the short position.
  2. Purpose: The main purpose of using Buy to Cover is to prevent further losses by purchasing the asset that was previously sold, if the trader believes that the price of the stock will continue to rise. It’s a strategy used to exit from a trade that hasn’t worked as the trader anticipated.
  3. Risks and Rewards: Like any strategy in trading, Buy to Cover comes with risks and rewards. There’s the potential for profit if the asset’s price drops after shorting it but increases after covering the short position. However, the risk is that if the asset’s price increases after shorting, the trader will experience a loss when covering the short.


In trading, the term ‘Buy to Cover’ is important as it refers to the purchase of securities to close an existing short position. A trader short sells when they expect a decline in the stock’s price. However, if their prediction is incorrect and the price increases instead, they can buy the shares back at a lower price to limit their losses. This action is called ‘buy to cover’. Besides cutting losses, it is also necessary to ‘buy to cover’ in order to return the borrowed shares to the lender, thereby completing the short-selling process. Therefore, understanding ‘buy to cover’ is crucial for traders to manage their risk and obligations in the market effectively.


Buy to Cover is a trading strategy that is primarily used by investors who had previously short sold their positions and now wish to close out those positions. The purpose is to secure a profit or thwart further losses by buying the same number of shares that were initially short sold. Utilizing the ‘Buy to Cover’ command allows a trader to purchase the stock at the current price and return the borrowed shares to the lender, thereby balancing the short position.Traders use this strategy when they anticipate stock prices might increase. Timing is crucial for the successful utilization of this strategy—the idea is to short sell when the prices are high, then buy to cover when the prices decrease, making a profit from the difference. However, if the prices rise unexpectedly, a trader can buy back the shares to cover their position and limit their losses. This method provides an effective way to manage potential risks associated with short-selling.


“Buy to Cover” is a term mainly used in stock market trading. It refers to the purchase of securities to close an existing short position. Here are three real world examples:1. Investor A short sells stocks from Company X predicting that the stock price will drop. However, contrary to expectations, the stock price hikes instead. To minimize further potential losses, Investor A decides to buy the same number of stocks they short-sold using a “buy to cover” order. 2. A hedge fund manager has a short position in Company Y’s shares, which he expects to fall due to some internal issues within the firm. But when the company announces a strong profit showing and a merger with a larger corporation, he decides to buy an equivalent number of shares to cover his short position and limit the fund’s losses.3. An individual trader shorted stocks of a technology firm Z anticipating the technology bubble would burst. However, the company releases a revolutionary product, and the shares surge instead of dropping. To close the short position and prevent further loss, the trader places a buy to cover order.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What does Buy to Cover mean in finance?

Buy to Cover is a buy order made on a stock or other listed security to close out an existing short position.

When is a Buy to Cover transaction usually performed?

A Buy to Cover transaction is performed when a short-seller decides to purchase additional stocks to close their short position either because they believe the stock price will increase or they are forced to by their brokerage due to a margin call.

Can Buy to Cover transactions lead to profit or loss?

Yes, a Buy to Cover transaction can lead to profit if the price at which the short-seller initially sold the securities is higher than the price at which they buy the securities back. Conversely, a loss occurs when the price at which the securities are bought back is higher than what they were initially sold for.

Is Buy to Cover a common practice?

Yes, Buy to Cover is a common practice amongst traders and investors who engage in short selling. It allows control over potential losses and the ability to realize gains from the short sale.

How can a Buy to Cover order benefit me as a trader?

Buy to Cover offers the advantage of protecting you from potential spikes in the price of a security that you’re short selling.

What are the risks involved in a Buy to Cover order?

The risks involved in a Buy to Cover order include the possibility that the price of the security may not fall as expected, leading to you having to buy back the short-sold security at a higher price, resulting in a loss.

Can I place a Buy to Cover order at a particular price?

Yes, you can place a limit order to Buy to Cover, which will only be executed at your specified price or lower. However, if the market price never drops to your set price, the order will remain unfulfilled.

How does a Buy to Cover order impact the stock market?

A mass of Buy to Cover orders can lead to a sharp increase in a stock’s price. This scenario, often referred to as a short squeeze, can make a stock overpriced in the short term.

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