I"m trying to wrap my head around a Trailing Limit if Touched Order that is offered by Interactive Brokers. The order explanation is at Trailing Limit if Touched.

What I'm trying to figure out is how exactly this works in a real world example. If I understand correctly, this can be used in a rising market.

Can anyone give me an example of how this trade can be used to be profitable?


  • Are you looking for an explanation from the long(buy) side or short(sell) side? Sep 5, 2012 at 17:04
  • Thanks for asking @user4358! If I'm holding stock and need to sell. :-) Sep 5, 2012 at 17:48

2 Answers 2


I don't think user4358's explanation is correct. A trailing LIT Sell Order adjusts downwards, i.e. if you place the order with an Aux price (in TWS it's trigger price) of 105.00 and a trailing amount of 6.00 then, assuming the ask is 100.00, TWS will add the trailing amount to the ask price and if it's less than the trigger price it will adjust.

So in my example, if the market (ask) goes straight up to 105.00, nothing will be adjusted, the trigger is touched and the limit order will be placed (see below).

If on the the other hand the market goes down to 99.00 then trlng amt + ask is 105.00, if it goes further down to 98.00 then the trigger price will be adjusted to 104.00 (because it's less than the current trigger), and so on.

For the LIT part you have either an absolute limit price you can enter, or you have an offset limit which will be subtracted from the trigger price, in which case it is adjusted as well.

So back to my example, the trigger is now 104.00 and the limit offset is say 1.00, so my limit order would be placed at 103.00 if the ask ever touches 104.00, and that in turn is only visible if the bid touches 103.00 (because it's limit-if-touched).

For a buy just use the same explanation with some swapped roles, the trigger price adjust upwards when the trailing amount plus bid is larger than the current trigger, and the limit offset will be added to the trigger price.

Also quite succinct and worth having a look at: http://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/trading/orders/trailingLimitTouched.php

Guesswork, highly subjective
As for why this might be good, well, you have to believe in momentum strategies, i.e. a market that goes down, will continue to go down, if you believe that and you believe in mean reversion as well, then a trailing limit order can assist you in not buying/selling impulsively, but closer to the mean. I've never used it that way though.

What I have done, even just now to get the explanation right, is to place trailing buy and sell orders simultaneously. You will find that you can just go in with coarse estimates and because the adjustments will go towards each other, you will end up with a narrowing band of trigger prices (as opposed to trailing stop orders which will give you a widening band of trigger prices). If you believe in overshooting and equilibria then this can be one easy way to profit from it. I've just sold EURUSD for 1.26420 and bought it back at 1.26380 with a trailing amount of 5pips and a limit offset of 2pips within the time of writing this.

  • You are my new hero. Excellent, EXCELLENT answer. Thank you! Sep 7, 2012 at 13:31

This is rather simple if you understand a trailing limit order but to be sure I am going to explain a limit, trailing limit, and trailing LIT order. I am going to use an example assuming that you already own a stock and want to sell it.

Limit Order
I place an order to sell 100 PG @ 65.00. This order will only be executed if the bid price of PG is at $65.0000 or greater.

Trailing Limit Order
I place an order to sell 100 CAT @ 85.25 with a trailing 5%. This order will be executed when CAT drops 5% below the highest point it reaches after you place this order. So if you place this order at 85.25 and the stock drops 5% to $80.9875, your order will be executed. However, if the stock jumps to $98, the order will not be executed until the stock falls to $93.10. The sell point will go up with the stock and will always remain at the specified % or $ amount behind the high point.

Trailing Limit If Touched Order
I place an order to sell 100 INTC @ 24.75 with a trailing 5% if the stock touches $25.00. Essentially, this is the same as the trailing limit except that it doesn't take effect until the stock first gets $25.00.

I think the page they provide to explain this is confusing because I think they are explaining it from the shorting a stock perspective instead of the selling a stock you want to profit from. I could also be wrong in how I understand it. My advice would be to either call their customer support and ask for a better explanation or what I do in my finances, avoid things I don't understand.

  • That explanation is wrong. IB's trailing limit orders move away with markets that move away, see my explanation. You explained IB's trailing stop orders.
    – hroptatyr
    Sep 7, 2012 at 7:10

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