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One-Cancels-the-Other Order (OCO)


A One-Cancels-the-Other Order (OCO) is a pair of orders stipulating that if one order executes, then the other order is automatically cancelled. This type of order is primarily used to mitigate risk and to enter or exit the market at desired price levels. It’s commonly used in forex and securities trading when conditions are volatile and exact timing is uncertain.


“One-Cancels-the-Other Order” would be phonetically transcribed as “wʌn kæn’səlz ðiː ʌð’ər ɔːrdər”. As for “OCO” , each letter is pronounced separately, so it would be “oʊ-siː-oʊ”.

Key Takeaways

  1. OCO allows you to place multiple orders simultaneously. It is a combination of two different orders. When one of the two orders is executed, the other order is automatically cancelled. This setup helps investors to manage their risks and take advantage of various market situations.
  2. It offers a high level of flexibility and control in uncertain and rapidly changing market scenarios. Investors can specify their preferred price points for buying or selling assets. If either of these price points is reached, the corresponding order will be executed and the other one will be immediately cancelled.
  3. One main drawback of OCO orders is that, if the market is very volatile and price fluctuates rapidly, there may not be enough time for the order to be executed before it is cancelled. Another possible disadvantage is that, if both the specified price points are reached at nearly the same time, it may not be clear which order should be executed first.


The One-Cancels-the-Other Order (OCO) is crucial in the business/finance field as it allows investors to place multiple orders while minimizing risk. An OCO is an instruction for two simultaneous orders where if one order is executed, the other is immediately cancelled. This method offers the flexibility of participating in trades without constant market monitoring, as the investor is assured that only one of the two trades will be executed. This could potentially increase profitability opportunities while minimizing potential losses. Its significance lies in facilitating precision trading and providing a prudential approach to managing financial transactions.


The One-Cancels-the-Other Order (OCO) is primarily used as a risk management tool by investors within the world of financial trading. It serves the crucial function of helping investors to hedge their investments and safeguard their potential losses. This is essentially an instruction provided by an investor to a broker or trading platform to place two simultaneous orders. When one of those two orders gets executed, the other is automatically canceled. This way, the OCO order prevents the trader from accidentally entering duplicate trades or making unnecessary trades. The use of OCO allows investors to set both their profit target and stop-loss limit ahead of time, which can significantly improve the efficiency of their trading practice. Rather than having to constantly monitor the market, they can set these orders up and then focus on other tasks, knowing that their trading parameters are already set. This is particularly useful in volatile or rapidly changing markets, where prices can change quickly and unexpectedly. The OCO order gives investors an extra layer of protection by ensuring that they do not miss crucial trading opportunities, while also protecting them from potential losses.


1. Forex Trading: A currency trader monitoring the value of the US dollar versus the euro has established a target rate they wish to trade at, but also has a stop-loss rate to prevent losses. Using the OCO order, they program the brokerage platform to execute a trade when the currency rate reaches a high of 1.30 or falls to a low of 1.20. If the euro’s value hits 1.30, the trader’s platform executes a sell order and cancels the stop loss at 1.20. This assists the trader in maintaining their profitability without constantly monitoring fluctuations. 2. Stock Trading: An investor holds a large amount of a particular stock which is currently trading at $50 per share. They utilize an OCO order, placing a limit order at $60 and a stop order at $40. In case the market price reaches $60, the limit order gets executed, selling their stocks for profit and automatically canceling the stop order. If the market takes a downturn and the price falls to $40, the stop order triggers to limit their loss, and the limit order at $60 gets canceled. 3. Commodities Trading: A trader dealing in oil future contracts decides to utilize an OCO order to optimize their trading strategy. They place one order to sell if the price of oil rises to $70 per barrel to capitalize on the profit and another order to sell if the price drops to $50 per barrel to limit losses. If the oil price rises to the $70 level, the sell order executes, and the $50 order gets canceled automatically. If the price decreases and hits $50, the sell order gets activated while simultaneously canceling the $70 order. Thus, the OCO order provides a protective strategy to balance risk and reward.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a One-Cancels-the-Other Order (OCO)?
A One-Cancels-the-Other Order (OCO) is a pair of orders stipulating that if one order is executed, then the other order is automatically cancelled.
How does an OCO order work in finance and business?
An OCO order combines a stop order with a limit order. This means that two orders are placed: one above the current market price, and one below. If the market price reaches either of these levels and one order is executed, the other is automatically cancelled.
Why would a trader employ an OCO strategy?
Traders often use OCO strategies to manage risk and take advantage of trading opportunities without needing to constantly monitor the market. It can help automate trading to ensure no opportunities are missed.
When is an OCO order commonly used?
An OCO order is commonly used when a trader anticipates that a security could move in either direction, but they don’t know which way the movement will be.
What platforms allow the use of OCO orders?
Many trading platforms such as MetaTrader4, MetaTrader5, IG and Interactive Brokers allow the use of OCO orders.
Can I cancel an OCO order?
Yes, an OCO order can be cancelled by the trader before it gets executed. But once one part of the order is executed, the other is automatically cancelled.
What are the risks associated with OCO orders?
While OCO orders can be highly effective in certain trades, they’re not foolproof. Market conditions, such as unexpected news or events, may cause the stock price to leap over the stop or limit order, resulting in a less than desirable execution.

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