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As one cannot get into IPO before it does public, how can one trade IPO stock on the first day of trading? I understand one can place orders in a public market. But trading in a public market on the first day of trading does not seem to be straightforward.

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    Are you asking how to bid on the IPO itself, for a chance to buy some stocks in the initial public offering itself? On my broker the IPO shows up as something you can place orders on. You place a limit buy order for the price you want to bid, and at the moment of the IPO, they tell you whether it was filled or not. Yours may differ. Dec 15, 2021 at 19:44

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Actually, one can get their hands on IPO stocks - many brokerages offer IPO access to their customers, you have to sign up for that - once you sign up, then you can go to their IPO center which will show all the upcoming IPOs. From here, you can sign up for "IPO allocation" - this is basically your intent that you want to sign up for the IPO, and indicate the maximum price you want to pay as well as number of shares you like to be allocated. Brokerages don't always get as many shares that their customers showed intent, so in most cases, you may or may not get allocation - and if you do, you may get a fraction of shares you showed intent for. One catch is, if you get shares allocated through IPO, there is usually a lock-up period (30 or 60 days), during which you should not sell the shares (and if you do, you'll get a violation that can result in not be able to participate in future IPO allocations or some other restrictions).

In ETrade, the Offerings page looks like this, you would click on "Participate" and agree to terms to participate (you can also read the prospectus as well) - enter image description here And as you can see, I had showed interest on these stocks and only got some or none of the requested shares were allocated - enter image description here

And, coming to your question - if you want to buy in open market, you would place a limit order on an IPO stock, just like you would with an already public stock, on or before the day of the IPO. When the stock opens for trading, if it opens below or at your limit order price - or falls to below or at your limit order price during the trading day, then your limit order will fill and you buy the stock. If you buy on the open market like this, then there is no restriction - you can sell anytime you want.

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