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Tick Size


Tick size refers to the minimum price movement or increment a specific security, such as a stock or bond, can make. This predetermined amount set by an exchange can vary based on the trading model and the asset type. For example, in equity markets, the tick size may be set at one penny.


The phonetics of the keyword “Tick Size” is /tɪk saɪz/.

Key Takeaways

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  1. Tick Size refers to the smallest possible price movement in a trading instrument. It’s the minimum price increment at which the market quote or orders can be fluctuated.
  2. Tick Size is important as it helps in maintaining the liquidity and stability of the market. A smaller tick size tends to yield a higher trading volume and assists in price discovery as it enables the price to adjust in smaller increments.
  3. The optimal tick size can vary across markets and securities. Various factors like trading volume, price levels, market structure and the behavior of market participants influence the determination of the appropriate tick size.

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Tick size is an essential concept in business and finance as it represents the minimal price movement of a trading instrument on an exchange. It determines the least increment by which the price of stocks, bonds, or other assets can change. It is necessary for maintaining orderly and consistent price movements in the market, limiting excessive price fluctuations, and improving market liquidity. The tick size also influences the transaction cost; the smaller the tick size, the higher the potential trading costs could be for investors. Thus, understanding and considering tick size is important when making trading decisions and strategy planning.


Tick size refers to the minimum price movement of a trading instrument, such as stocks, bonds, or futures contracts. Put plainly, it’s the least amount by which the price can change. The main significance of tick size is that it sets a measure for the precision and speed of price changes in a market. When the tick size is small, prices can adjust swiftly and with a high level of granularity, which provides traders with an opportunity to profit from small, instant price variations. Moreover, the tick size plays a prominent role in managing market liquidity. Market liquidity is about how easily an asset can be bought or sold without causing a significant price change. A smaller tick size can lead to higher liquidity, as it allows for tighter bid-ask spreads. This can result in a lower cost of trading, contributing to more active trading and a more efficient market. However, tick sizes that are too small could lead to market instability, while ones that are too large might stifle trading activity. Therefore, there’s a need for suitable balance, and that’s why regulatory bodies often stipulate the tick sizes.


1. Stock Market Trading: The U.S. stock markets used to operate on a fractional tick size system, with minimum price movements set at 1/16 of a dollar, or about 0.0625 cents. However, in 2001, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ordered all U.S. stock markets to switch to decimal pricing. The new rule means that the tick size—the smallest amount a stock price can move—is now one cent. For instance, if a share in Company A is being traded at $10.00, the next possible quote can be $10.01 or $9.99, but not $10.0005.2. Forex Trading: In foreign exchange markets, the tick size is much smaller given the high value of currencies and the minute fractions in price changes, with changes often taking place in the fourth decimal place. For example, with the EUR/USD trading at 1.1550, the next possible price can be 1.1551 or 1.1549.3. Futures Trading: The tick sizes in futures markets vary based on the type of contract. For instance, the tick size for a gold futures contract on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is 0.10, equivalent to $10. Meaning, if a gold futures contract is priced at $1,300.00, the next possible price is $1,300.10 or $1,299.90.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Tick Size in finance and business?

Tick Size refers to the smallest increment by which the price of stocks, futures contracts or other exchange-traded instrument can move.

How is Tick Size significant?

The tick size holds great significance as it indicates the minimum price variation of a trading instrument. It is critical to understand for traders as it affects their strategy and potential profits.

How does a Tick Size impact trading?

A small tick size allows the price to be more precise. However, it could also lead to more rapid changes in the prices. Conversely, a larger tick size can potentially lead to less price fluctuation.

What is an example of Tick Size in practice?

For example, if the Tick Size in a futures contract is $0.01, then the contract price can move up or down by at least this amount.

How is Tick Size determined?

Tick Size is determined by the exchange on which the asset is traded. Different exchanges may have different tick sizes and may change them from time to time.

Why might an exchange adjust the Tick Size?

An exchange might adjust the Tick Size to control the liquidity and stability of a particular market. Depending on market conditions, a smaller or larger tick size might be more appropriate.

Is Tick Size fixed for all trading assets?

No, Tick Size is not fixed for all trading assets. It varies from one asset to another depending on the exchange and the type of asset being traded.

Can an investor or trader set their own Tick Size?

No, an investor or trader cannot set their own Tick Size. The Tick Size is set by the exchange where the asset is listed and all traders must adhere to its rules.

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