I was trying to close out of a position today (buy to close - short call option) and had a limit order active all day long at 0.20. Near the end of the day I got anxious and raised my limit price up to 0.25 to try and see if I could just close out at an acceptable price. To my surprise (and delight), when I raised my limit price the order got immediately filled at .16 (.09 better than my limit, and even more surprisingly .04 better than the other limit order I had open all day). I am still trying to wrap my head around how this could have happened. Was there really someone on the other side of my trade who at that exact moment decided they would be willing to sell at .16 after holding out all day with the bid at .20? (this was a fairly low volume equity)

  • I wouldn't be surprised it this was a poorly implemented trading bot. Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 22:10
  • At that price I presume you are talking about an option? "Buy to close" tells me you were short, but not short what. Oh, now I see the title includes information that the text of the post does not...
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 22:11
  • Poorly implemented trading bot? Could be Robinhood and their routing for payment for order flow? Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 22:18

1 Answer 1


There are several possibilities:

  • It is as you surmised and someone showed up at 16 cents. It may or may not be the case that they were holding out all day. It could just be a lucky coincidence that your counter party showed up when you changed your order.

  • Strange stuff occurs on volatile days like today. People make abrupt decisions.

  • Sometimes people fat finger a trade, entering in the wrong price.

  • Market makers occasionally fill combo orders at a very different price than at the current bid or ask. For example, suppose I'm trying to buy a vertical spread for $1.50 and I'm trying to split the bids. The $50 call is $1.90 x $2.10 and the $55 call is $0.40 x $0.60. I could get filled at prices like ($2.00 -$0.50) or ($2.02 -$0.52) or even something crazy like ($2.30 -$0.80) which is far away from the market. It's possible that you were the beneficiary of being on the other side of one of these out of current price range fills.

  • Lastly, given that this was a 'fairly low volume equity' then I assume that the options are also illiquid. Do its options typically trade in 5 cent increments? If so, getting a fill at 16 cents makes me wonder if maker/taker fees were involved as well.

I don't know the answer but these would be my guesses.

  • Excellent ideas, and thanks for humoring me. I do realize that my question is not really answerable with any level of certainty. I have had a few trades over the past few years that have really called into question my notion of an efficient market and I guess this one will just have to be added to the list.
    – Occam
    Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 23:57
  • Sometimes it's just better to be lucky than to be smart :->) Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 3:01

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