Cancel Order

What is a Cancel Order?

What is a cancel order? It’s a decision you must make when circumstances change — in trading, it’s a formal request to revoke an order to buy or sell stocks, commodities, or currencies before it executes. In e-commerce, it’s when a customer reverses an order before shipment. This article delves into the details of canceled orders, explaining how they work, when you can cancel, and why understanding them could save you from unwanted outcomes.

Key Takeaways

  • A cancel order is a request to withdraw a previously submitted order to buy or sell stocks, with market orders typically not cancellable due to immediate execution, while limit and stop orders may be cancelled if conditions are not met.
  • Automatically canceling order types such as Fill-Or-Kill (FOK), Immediate-Or-Cancel (IOC), and One-Cancels-the-Other (OCO) have specific features for immediate execution and managing multiple linked orders, providing control and preventing unwanted executions.
  • E-commerce businesses must craft a solid cancel order policy, clearly communicate it to customers, and establish protocols for cancellations, refunds, and fees to minimize losses and retain customer satisfaction.

What is a cancel order?

A canceled order represents a fundamental concept in trading, referring to the withdrawal of a previously submitted order to buy or sell stocks. This can include a variety of different order types, the most common ones being:

  • Market orders: executed at the best available price in the market, which usually means it cannot be considered a canceled order due to immediate execution.
  • Limit orders: set a specific price at which you want to buy or sell a stock. These orders can be canceled if the price is not reached.
  • Stop orders: trigger a market order to buy or sell a stock once it reaches a certain price. These orders can also be canceled if the price is not reached.

Understanding cancel orders is important for managing your trades effectively.

On the other hand, a limit order specifies the maximum or minimum specified price at which one is willing to buy or sell a stock. This order allows investors more control over the transaction and can be canceled provided the order has not yet been executed. It’s crucial to note that the ability to cancel orders, and particularly which types of orders can be canceled, is a fundamental aspect of trading that all investors need to comprehend.

The Mechanics of Canceling Orders

So, how does one cancel an order? Investors may cancel standing orders, such as limit or stop orders, through an online platform or by calling their broker directly. Cancellation requests for stock orders can be submitted via an online trading platform, but the success of the cancellation depends on whether the order has been executed or not.

However, not all orders are created equally when it comes to cancellation. Market orders, for instance, are typically not cancellable after submission due to immediate execution. In contrast, limit and stop orders can be canceled if not yet filled, a factor that depends on market conditions and the specifics of the order.

Timing and Execution

When it comes to the timing and execution of orders, market orders stand out. They are processed immediately, which minimizes the chances of cancellation because they are filled as soon as they are received. This is unlike limit and stop orders that may not be filled immediately, leaving a window open for potential cancellation. This immediate execution of market orders is particularly evident in times of high market volatility, where they are executed immediately at the current market price, unlike stop-limit orders where execution within a specific price range may be uncertain.

Furthermore, stop orders have the following characteristics:

  • They are only triggered during standard market sessions
  • They can be set to expire at the session’s end or be extended as good-‘til-canceled (GTC) orders
  • This provides flexibility in how long the order remains active, giving investors more control over their trading strategies.

Brokerage Protocols

Brokers play a critical role in managing canceled orders. They track and process these requests using their online platforms or through telephone communication with investors. This is why, when canceling an order, it’s necessary to provide the broker with the order details and request a cancellation before the order has been executed.

However, simply requesting a cancellation is not enough. It’s crucial for investors to ensure that their canceled orders are completely purged from the broker’s order book. This serves as an important safety check, safeguarding investors from unexpected transactions.

Types of Automatically Canceling Orders

Now let’s delve into the realm of automatically canceling orders. These ingenious orders are used in stock trading to manage the execution of trades according to predefined conditions. They are particularly useful in preventing unwanted partial executions and ensuring that the specific conditions set by traders are met.

The main types of automatically canceling orders include fill or kill (FOK), immediate or cancel (IOC), and one-cancels-the-other (OCO) orders. Each of these order types has unique features and applications, as we will see in the following subsections.

Fill or Kill (FOK) Order

A Fill-Or-Kill (FOK) order in stock trading is an order that must be executed immediately in its entirety. In other words, these orders demand nothing less than immediate and complete execution. This might seem stringent, but the rationale behind such a requirement is to avoid partial fills that could result in undesired prices.

In the event that a Fill-Or-Kill order cannot be executed immediately in its entirety, the entire order will be subject to a “fill or kill canceled” status. This ensures that traders are not left with partial orders that could alter their trading strategies or expose them to unexpected market risks.

Immediate Or Cancel (IOC) Order

An Immediate-Or-Cancel (IOC) order, also known as an immediate or cancel order, is an order that must be executed immediately to the fullest extent possible. This means that any portion of an IOC order that is not filled immediately gets canceled, ensuring there are no partial executions remaining active in the market.

Traders strategically use Immediate or Cancel (IOC) orders to capitalize on short-term market movements by quickly entering and exiting positions. Moreover, IOC orders allow traders to manage risks effectively, especially in volatile markets with low liquidity where partial fills could impact the trading strategy.

One-Cancels-the-Other (OCO) Order

The last type of automatically canceling order we’ll discuss is the One-Cancels-the-Other (OCO) order. An OCO order effectively links a stop order with a limit order, such that the execution of one will automatically result in the cancellation of the other. This enables traders to create a strategy with a target level and a stop level, where the execution of either one cancels the other.

For instance, traders may utilize OCO orders for a retracement strategy, placing a buy limit order at a predefined support level and a sell limit order at a set resistance level. This strategy is particularly useful in volatile markets, as it allows traders to set parameters for multiple positions, executing one and canceling the other when trigger conditions are met.

Impact of Market Conditions on Canceled Orders

Stock market with price charts and graphs showing price movement and impact of market conditions on canceled orders.

Market conditions can significantly impact the execution and cancellation of orders. For instance, price gaps during stock trading, which occur when a stock’s price moves sharply up or down with no trading in between, can have a marked impact on the execution of orders. In such scenarios, market orders may be executed at prices quite different from when the order was placed, while stop-limit orders may not be executed at all if the stock never reaches the specified limit price.

Moreover, factors such as earnings releases, significant company news, or broader economic data can influence stock prices outside of market sessions, affecting orders upon market open. For instance, a ‘gap up’ in stock trading on the New York Stock Exchange (York Stock Exchange NYSE) may result in a sell limit order being executed at an unexpectedly higher price, which is beneficial to sellers.

In such volatile market conditions, traders often use stop orders to protect their gains or reduce losses. Sell stop orders activate a sale at the next available bid price when the stock price drops to or below the stop price, while buy stop orders execute a purchase when the price increases to or higher than the stop price, helping to capitalize on upward trends. A buy order, on the other hand, is a simple instruction to purchase shares at the current market price. When looking to sell a security, it’s crucial to consider these strategies, including placing a sell order, to minimize potential losses.

Strategic Use of Canceled Orders in Trading

Having discussed the basics of cancel orders and their different types, let’s now focus on how traders can use these orders strategically. One-Cancels-the-Other (OCO) orders serve as a prime example. These orders involve linking two orders where the execution of one order results in the automatic cancellation of the other. This feature can be strategically used by investors in the following ways:

  • Setting a profit target and a stop-loss order simultaneously
  • Placing a limit order to buy and a stop order to sell at the same time
  • Combining a limit order to buy and a stop order to sell at different price levels

By utilizing OCO orders, traders can effectively manage their risk and maximize their potential profits.

OCO orders are typically utilized by traders to enact breakout strategies, taking positions above resistance with a buy stop order or below support with a sell stop order, mitigating the risk of multiple simultaneous orders. After entering the market with an OCO order, it is crucial for a trader to manually establish a stop-loss order to secure the position and manage potential losses.

Crafting a Solid Cancel Order Policy for E-commerce

Switching gears from trading to e-commerce, a solid cancel order policy is just as crucial in this setting. An e-commerce business’s order cancellation policy specifies the conditions under which customers can cancel their orders, providing security for the business in the event of cancellations.

Clear communication of the order cancellation policy is crucial as it sets clear expectations, prevents misunderstandings, and retains customers. By reducing return rates, a well-communicated cancel order policy can save time and money for e-commerce businesses.

Setting Clear Expectations

To avoid misunderstandings and dissatisfaction, businesses should clearly communicate any restrictions on canceling orders. This includes establishing a set timeline for cancellations, dictating the timeframe within which customers can successfully cancel their orders.

Moreover, businesses need to provide detailed instructions for how to execute a cancellation or return, including:

  • Packaging and labeling
  • The process and timeframe for processing returns and issuing refunds
  • Clarity on who bears the responsibility for return shipping costs

Consideration for offering free return shipping to the customer when feasible is also important.

Handling Refunds and Fees

Establishing a return policy that specifies the types of returns or exchanges offered, including the condition required for returned products, is critical for e-commerce businesses. Refund policies often include a standard 30-day return period, however, it’s important for e-commerce businesses to clarify explicitly when this period starts and ends.

Businesses should also make clear whether customers can return online purchases at brick-and-mortar locations, ensuring full transparency. Lastly, e-commerce businesses can reasonably charge a cancellation fee to cover costs incurred from an order cancellation. This can help protect the business from financial losses associated with frequent cancellations.


Understanding and effectively using cancel orders is crucial in both trading and e-commerce. From defining what a cancel order is and explaining its mechanics to outlining the different types of automatically canceling orders and their strategic use, this blog post has covered the essential aspects of cancel orders. It also shed light on how market conditions can impact cancel orders and how a well-crafted cancel order policy can enhance e-commerce operations. The knowledge shared in this post will empower traders and e-commerce business owners alike to navigate the complexities of cancel orders, optimizing their strategic decisions and fostering success in their respective fields.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a cancel order?

A cancel order refers to the withdrawal of an order to buy or sell on the market, limit, or stop orders.

What are some of the types of automatically canceling orders?

Some of the types of automatically canceling orders include fill or kill (FOK), immediate or cancel (IOC), and one-cancels-the-other (OCO) orders.

How can market conditions impact cancel orders?

Market conditions, such as price gaps and company news, can impact stock prices and lead to unexpected order executions or cancellations, especially at market opening. Be aware of these factors when placing orders.

How can cancel orders be used strategically in trading?

Cancel orders can be strategically used in trading to manage risk and take advantage of market movements, such as using One-Cancels-the-Other (OCO) orders to set parameters for multiple positions. This can help execute one order while canceling the other when trigger conditions are met.

Why is a solid cancel order policy important for e-commerce businesses?

A solid cancel order policy is important for e-commerce businesses because it sets clear expectations, reduces return rates, saves time and money, provides security, retains customers, and builds loyalty, while preventing misunderstandings. It is crucial for the smooth operation and success of an e-commerce business.

Similar Posts