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Immediate Or Cancel Order (IOC)


An Immediate Or Cancel Order (IOC) is a type of stock market order that mandates the entire order be executed immediately, either wholly or partially, upon reaching the trading floor. If the order cannot be immediately filled in its entirety, the unfilled portion is cancelled. It allows investors to minimize the time spent waiting for an order to be executed, reducing exposure to unwanted price fluctuations.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Immediate Or Cancel Order (IOC)” is:im-ee-dee-uht or kan-suhl awr-der (eye-oh-see)

Key Takeaways


  1. An Immediate Or Cancel Order (IOC) is a type of order that requires all or part of the order to be executed immediately; any portion that cannot be filled is canceled.
  2. IOC orders reduce the risk of holding or being exposed to an unfavorable price movement by ensuring immediate execution or cancellation.
  3. IOC orders are commonly used by day traders or when trading in rapidly-moving markets or for illiquid assets where a quick execution is necessary.


The Immediate Or Cancel Order (IOC) is an important business/finance term as it offers investors and traders greater control over the execution of their orders in the financial markets. With an IOC order, the investor specifies that the order must be filled immediately, either in full or partially; any unfilled portion is canceled instantly. This enables traders to quickly react to fast-moving market conditions or make decisions based on short-term timeframes without the risk of leaving unwanted portions of their orders pending for an extended period. As a result, the IOC order helps minimize the potential for price slippage or missed opportunities, ultimately assisting investors in managing their trades more effectively and efficiently.


An Immediate or Cancel Order (IOC) serves as an essential tool for traders and investors seeking to have more control over the execution of their orders while minimizing exposure to undesirable market movements. This is a specific type of limit order in which traders have a certain dealing price in mind, and the transaction should either be executed immediately, partially, or be canceled altogether. The primary purpose of utilizing an IOC order is to minimize the risk of a transaction taking place at an unfavorable price, which could result in losses for the investor. Additionally, this type of order is exceptionally beneficial when trading in volatile or illiquid markets where there are limited liquidity and fluctuations in prices might deter trading objectives. The use of an IOC order ensures a more responsive and disciplined approach to trading. By specifying a particular limit price, investors can avoid potential delays or intervention from market makers in the execution of their orders, thereby ensuring that they retain control over the transactions. Furthermore, since IOC orders are not displayed on trading platforms and are only visible to the receiving broker system, they can also protect investors from malicious “gaming” practices aimed at exploiting the latency between order submission and execution. As a result, the immediate or cancel order becomes a vital component in helping investors to integrate a risk aversion strategy and maintain agility in fast-paced market environments.


Example 1:Mary, a professional investor, is interested in purchasing shares of XYZ Company after its latest financial results showed impressive growth. She decides to place a purchase order for 1000 shares at a limit price of $30. Mary doesn’t want her order to stay on the market for too long, so she inputs it as Immediate or Cancel. When her broker submits the order, only 800 shares are available below or at the price of $30. Mary’s IOC order gets her 800 shares immediately and cancels the remaining 200 she couldn’t purchase. Example 2: John is a day trader looking to take advantage of a sudden surge in the technology sector. He sees that the shares of ABC Inc. are trading at $45, and he wants to buy 500 shares of ABC Inc. at $44.95 or lower. John uses an IOC order because he wants the transaction to happen quickly. The trading platform executes the order for 300 shares at $44.95, but no more shares are available at that price. The order for the remaining 200 shares is immediately canceled. John now owns 300 shares of ABC Inc. at his desired price. Example 3:Anna, a portfolio manager, wants to sell 1000 shares of her company’s stock at a certain price point to rebalance her portfolio. The stock currently trades at $10.50, but she wants to sell only if the price moves up to $10.55 or more. Anna puts an IOC sell order with a limit price of $10.55. If the price goes up to or above $10.55 during trading hours and there are enough buyers, her order will be executed for the 1000 shares. If not, the order is immediately canceled at the end of the trading day and Anna can decide if she still wants to sell the shares or readjust her strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is an Immediate Or Cancel Order (IOC)?
An Immediate Or Cancel Order (IOC) is a type of order in finance and trading that requires all or part of an order to be executed immediately upon placement. If any portion of the order cannot be filled instantly, it is automatically canceled.
How does an Immediate Or Cancel Order work?
An IOC works by either executing the order in full, partially fulfilling it, or not executing it at all. If any part of the trade cannot be executed upon placement, the remaining unfilled shares or contracts are automatically canceled.
When should an investor use an Immediate Or Cancel Order?
An investor should consider using an IOC when they want to ensure a quick execution of all or part of an order, typically when market conditions are moving rapidly, and they want to avoid holding unexecuted orders for an extended period.
Are there any fees associated with an Immediate Or Cancel Order?
Fees for IOC orders may vary depending on the brokerage firm. It is essential to check with your brokerage to understand the specific fees associated with IOC orders before placing one.
Can an Immediate Or Cancel Order be used in all types of securities trading?
IOC orders are primarily used for trading stocks and options, but their applicability might be limited in other types of securities trading. It is recommended to consult your broker or trading platform to check the availability of IOC orders for different types of securities.
Can an investor modify or cancel an Immediate Or Cancel Order after placing it?
Once an IOC order has been placed, it cannot be modified. If any part of the order is not immediately executed, the remaining quantity is automatically canceled.
What is the difference between an Immediate Or Cancel Order and Fill Or Kill (FOK) Order?
While both IOC and FOK orders require immediate execution, the primary difference lies in the portion of the order that can be filled. An IOC order allows for partial fulfillment of the trade, whereas a Fill Or Kill (FOK) order requires the entire order to be filled immediately; otherwise, the entire order gets canceled.

Related Finance Terms

  • Limit Order
  • Order Execution
  • Fill or Kill (FOK) Order
  • Day Order
  • Good ‘till Canceled (GTC) Order

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