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On March 18th 1 AM I placed a simple limit sell order without constraints at $94.64 for 2000 shares of a NYSE listed refinery stock.

The daily high went through $94.64 and into $94.66 – .02 above my sell price on volume of 3,029,500.

My order wasn't executed and my would have been profitable sell from a stock purchased earlier in the week dropped below my cost that same day.

The stock went through my limit sell order price points of 94.64, 94.65 and into 94.66 then back down to 94.65 and back down through 94.64 (around 1:28:24 ) – all without being filled. Can someone explain how this could happen with daily volume of 3,029,500?

Now my account is in a sizeable loss position. All of my TD Webbroker orders default to partial execution when ever possible. I would have needed to: Check here for "All or none (optional)" But not a single share was sold.
I am very disappointed that TD Waterhouse did not fill my limit sell order which was .02 BELOW the fill price - and gets away with it scott free!

TD Webbroker.ca advertises that they have a regulatory obligation to diligently pursue execution. TD help line staff answered me “if the price goes to .2cents above the sell price you set in your limit order, TD will sell the stock for you.” I spent hours on the phone without resolution, the line went dead once and a good chunk of that time spent trying to convince them that the price went above $94.50.

TD Webbroker.ca online system was down for 2 days, we were unable to log on so I wonder if another possible system failure was responsible for this.

TD Bank Group's (TD) Ombudsman won't act unless I get written response from management but contact people at TD management refuse to respond to my problem in writing by email.

What, if any, recourse might I have?

  • When did the stock go to 94.65 , 94.66 ... was it after 1:00 PM when you put the order? If so it looks very strange. The price cannot go above 94.64 unless all the orders at 94.64 get filled. It can remain at 94.64 without your order getting filled due to time priority of other orders at 94.64 – Dheer Mar 27 '14 at 3:43
  • Related m.youtube.com/watch?v=dk01eeKMD_I m.youtube.com/watch?v=DErOM2tIfwM – user11865 Mar 27 '14 at 23:41
  • 1AM early in the morning prior to market open (not pm) – user1988 Mar 28 '14 at 19:25
  • If a limit order has priority, it is the next trade executed at the limit price. Simple limit orders generally get high priority, based on a first-come-first-served rule - Wilkipedia. – user1988 Mar 28 '14 at 19:26
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TD will only sell the stock for you if there's a buyer. There was a buyer, for at least one transaction of at least one stock at 96.66. But who said there were more? Obviously, the stocks later fell, i.e.: there were not that many buyers as there were sellers.

What I'm saying is that once the stock passed/reached the limit, the order becomes an active order. But it doesn't become the only active order. It is added to the list, and to the bottom of that list. Obviously, in this case, there were not enough buyers to go through the whole list and get to your order, and since it was a limit order - it would only execute with the limit price you put. Once the price went down you got out of luck.

That said, there could of course be a possibility of a system failure. But given the story of the market behavior - it just looks like you miscalculated and lost on a bet.

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    How can there be a buyer at 96.66 but not at 96.64? RE: price priority, best possible price executed first – user1988 Mar 27 '14 at 2:21
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    @user1988 why not? Who promised you continuous pricing? But not only that - there could have been a buyer. It's just there also could have been many other sellers filing orders before you. – littleadv Mar 27 '14 at 2:26
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    My offer of 96.64 was below 96.66 and on the table from the open. Best possible price executed first policy would imply buyers pay the lower price until supply exhausted at the lower price. This clearly did not happen with my TD.Webbroker limit sell order. – user1988 Mar 27 '14 at 2:39
  • @user1988 do you have proof that your offer was the best? Or the only at that price? You don't. You didn't even bother to check. – littleadv Mar 27 '14 at 2:53
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    Do you mean sellers are able to sell at 94.66 when there is an order on the table at 94.64? Maybe my order at 94.64 wasn't there at all... – user1988 Mar 27 '14 at 3:08
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On most exchanges, if you place a limit order to sell at 94.64, you will be executed before the market can trade at a higher price. However most stocks in the US trade across several exchanges and your broker won't place your limit order on all exchanges (otherwise you could be executed several times).

The likeliest reason for wht happened to you is that your order was not on the market where those transactions were executed. Reviewing the ticks, there were only 8 transactions above your limit, all at 1:28:24, for a total 1,864 shares and all on the NYSE ARCA exchange. If your order was on a different exchange (NYSE for example) you would not have been executed. If your broker uses a smart routing system they would not have had time to route your order to ARCA in time for execution because the market traded lower straight after.

Volume at each price on that day:

Price   # trades  # shares
94.66          5     1,064
94.65          3       800
94.64          1       100
94.63          2       700
  • no mention of how many of the 3,029,500 shares sold at 94.64? TD Waterhouse.ca say they put my unfilled sell order on the NYSE – user1988 Mar 27 '14 at 23:13
  • @user1988 see my edit... – assylias Mar 28 '14 at 9:26
  • Regarding "your broker won't place your limit order on all exchanges" = "regulated dealers have “best execution” obligations when managing orders. Technology solutions used for the management of orders must be designed such that orders are not being entered on marketplaces that would execute at “clearly erroneous” prices" www.securitiesregulationcanada.com – user1988 Mar 28 '14 at 19:46
  • Would it not be erroneous to execute a sale at 94.66 or 94.65 when there is a seller at 94.64 with a limit sell order entered with tdwaterhouse.ca before the market opened? NYSE Arca Equities Order Processing: all orders to be organized by time of entry, adhering to our price-time priority. - every exchange will have orders posted at the NBBO (Is volume posted for both exchanges?) – user1988 Mar 28 '14 at 19:47
  • Your first consent implies that they could not have executed your order at day 94.64 of the best offer at the time of execution was 94.66 - it doesn't imply that they are supposed to get your order executed if there is a market where it could be executed. Re. Your second comment: your order was clearly not on ARCA. It was probably on the NYSE. – assylias Mar 28 '14 at 23:08
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What happened here is pretty obvious:

You were trying to sell 2000 shares and apparently didn't mark your order to permit partial execution. While they had a buyer at 94.66 they didn't want 2000 shares. Thus your order went unfilled.

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