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Limit Down


Limit down is a trading term that refers to the maximum decrease in the price of a stock or commodity allowed in one trading day. The exact amount often varies but is determined by the exchange on which the security is traded. It’s implemented to prevent panic selling and extreme market volatility.


The phonetics of the keyword “Limit Down” are: /ˈlɪmɪt daʊn/

Key Takeaways

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  1. Limit Down refers to the maximum amount a price of a security, futures or index contract can decline in a single trading day. Regulations are set to prevent excessive volatility or manipulation within the markets
  2. A limit-down price is determined by a percentage calculation that drops the prices of securities from the previous trading day’s closing figure. Once the price drop hits a certain level, trading is halted for the day.
  3. If a stock has reached its limit down, it means that it has hit its maximum allowed downward price shift and any trading that occurs will happen at prices equal to or above the limit down price. This rule is important as it gives the market an opportunity to take a break and digest the news that may be causing the drastic decrease in price.

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The business/finance term “Limit Down” is significant as it denotes the maximum decrease permissible in the price of a stock or commodity during a single trading session. This boundary is set by trading exchanges to prevent sharp downward volatility and panic selling, which could otherwise lead to extreme market instability. By halting trading once the limit down price has been reached, it provides the market an opportunity to take a break, facilitate measured analysis, reassess the trading environment, and protect investors from drastic loss. The protection mechanisms like “limit down” promote better market transparency and integrity by ensuring orderly trading behavior during periods of high volatility.


The purpose of the limit down mechanism is to mitigate the potential for extreme price volatility in financial markets, specifically for futures and equities markets. It is designed to prevent a collapsing market scenario where sellers dump their assets and cause prices to plummets unpredictably. Limit down sets boundaries that restrict how far a price can drop in a single trading day. This trading halt provides a cooling-off period, allowing market participants to reassess their strategies and prevent panic selling. The use of the limit down enables the market to maintain order and balance even during periods of significant volatility. By controlling the potential loss within a single trading day, it safeguards the financial market from unpredictable crashes that could result in substantial financial instability. It is especially useful during periods of negative financial news or events, where the market sentiment may drive intense sell-off of shares. Limit down halts facilitate an orderly trading process, which is crucial for maintaining investor confidence and overall market stability.


1. Commodity Trading: In the commodities futures markets trades have daily price limits. For example, suppose corn futures have a limit down of 20 cents per bushel. If it opens at $3.50 per bushel, it can drop to $3.30, but no lower, on the trading day. The limit down protects traders from extremely volatile price swings.2. Stock Market Crash of October 1987: On Black Monday in 1987, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) fell by 22.6%, there were no limit down rules in place to halt trading. As a result, the market faced a free-fall of sell orders. In response to this event, stock exchanges around the world implemented rules to pause trading if values plummet too rapidly, essentially creating “limit down” levels to prevent such drastic losses in a single day.3. Circuit Breakers in Chinese Markets: In 2016, China’s stock market experienced a significant event where limit-down rules were triggered. This involved a new circuit breaker system that halted trading for 15 minutes if the CSI 300 Index fell 5% from its previous close, and stopped trading for the rest of the day if it fell 7%. On January 4 and 7, the markets hit the limit down within the first half-hour of trading, causing skepticism and panic among investors.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Limit Down in finance and business?

Limit down refers to the maximum amount that the price of a security or commodity futures contract is permitted to decrease within a trading day by exchanges. It is a mechanism designed to prevent excessive downward movement in the market and maintain stability.

How does Limit Down work?

Once the price of a security or futures contract reaches the limit down price, trading may be restricted or halted for the day. The restriction aims to prevent panic selling and maintain order in the market.

What is the purpose of setting a Limit Down?

The limit down mechanism serves to maintain stability and protect against extreme volatility in market prices. It prevents a drastic drop that may induce panic selling among investors, affecting market equilibrium.

Who enforces the Limit Down rule?

Limit down rules are set and enforced by financial and commodity exchanges globally, such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), NASDAQ, and other relevant exchange platforms.

Is Limit Down only for any specific market?

No, the limit down restriction applies to various markets, including equity, commodities, and futures contracts. All these markets have their own set limitations, put in place by their respective exchanges.

Are the Limit Down levels the same for all securities and exchanges?

No, the limit down levels may differ between securities and exchanges. Each exchange often has its own rules for determining how much a price can fall before the limit down is triggered.

What’s the difference between Limit Down and Limit Up?

While limit down refers to the maximum decrease in a security’s price, limit up refers to the maximum increase in a security’s price in a single trading day.

How does Limit Down affect my trading strategy?

If a security hits its limit down, trading halts, potentially affecting investors who planned on buying or selling that day. It may require adjustments to trading strategies to limit losses or capitalize on future gains when trading resumes.

What happens after a Limit Down halt?

After a limit down halt, trading may be restricted or halted for the day. When it resumes, the market often opens at the limit down price.

Related Finance Terms

  • Futures Contract: A legal agreement to buy or sell something at a predetermined price at a specified time in the future.
  • Trading Halt: A temporary suspension of trading for a particular security or securities at one exchange or across numerous exchanges.
  • Market Volatility: The rate at which the price of a security increases or decreases for a set of returns. It directly relates to the risk associated with the particular asset.
  • Limit Up: The maximum amount the price of a futures contract is allowed to increase in one trading day. Opposite concept to Limit Down.
  • Circuit Breaker: Measures approved by the SEC to curb panic-selling on U.S. stock exchanges and excessive volatility in individual securities.

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