I put a limit buy order for 1000 shares at $1.26, and another investor has also put a limit buy order in for the same amount and volume. If someone sells 1000 shares at $1.26, which one of us gets the shares?

  • Note that the answers below assume you have direct access to an exchange; most individual investors do not. If you place your order through a retail broker, it's unlikely for your actual order to ever hit a real exchange. Instead your retail broker will (a) match your order against another of its clients, (b) place a better order than the one you wanted (at sub-penny prices that are only available to retail companies!) and then pocket the difference, or (c) engage in any number of other shenanigans. Bottom line: retail investors' orders almost never hit the actual stock exchanges.
    – dg99
    Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 17:19

2 Answers 2


The one whose order gets to the exchange first. The exchange receives the orders and arranges them in First-In-First-Out order, by which they're then executed. At some point it is synchronized and put into a list. Whoever gets to that point first - gets the deal.


While littleadv's answer is true for many exchanges (in particular the stock market, it's called FIFO matching) you should also know that some markets trade pro rata. That is, for a match at some price level everyone at that level gets a chunk of the deal proportional to their input (i.e. order size).

E.g. match for quantity X at a price level and passive side orders y1, y2; the order y1 would get y1 / (y1 + y2) of X and y2 would get y2 / (y1 + y2) (for X = min(X, y1 + y2)).

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