Have you ever wondered why those last few seconds of the trading day can cause such big swings?

It is as if right before closing, the market gets a sudden surge of activity. Within this busy scene, market on close orders are like a secret important part. They are like the last move in chess during a speedy match – they’re a planned action taken just before time is up to influence the final result.

These commands, made to happen at or close to the final price of the day, are very important for people who trade. They provide an opportunity to increase profits from the whole day or guard against unexpected events that can occur just before the market closes. In this beginning guide about MOC orders, we will simplify the technical language and describe why they are very useful. To understand MOC orders is not only to learn a new kind of order – it’s to observe the core rhythm of the market as the day comes to an end.

We will explore how MOC orders function, identify the most suitable moments to apply them tactically, and understand their role in guiding your choices during the crucial last minutes before the market closes. Consider it as obtaining an advantage in a realm where each second is valuable.

Decoding the Market on Close Order: A Trading Essential

Traders receive direction from a market on close (MOC) order to buy or sell a security at the market’s closing price. This execution takes place as near to the end of the trading session as possible, harnessing the last available prices for that day. Valued for their role in consolidating trades during price settlement periods, MOC orders enable traders’ participation in final pricing without requiring active monitoring of continuous fluctuations.

Strategically securing positions and managing risks, MOC orders play a crucial role in allowing traders to close positions effectively at market close. Institutional investors, among other large-volume traders, particularly benefit from the simple approach that MOC orders offer to either align their trades with closing momentum or avoid potential volatility on the next day. These benefits stem from capitalizing—typically—at the close of each trading session when liquidity tends towards its highest point, thus minimizing market impact for these savvy participants in financial markets. 

Crucial to strategies that are sensitive to daily price movements and closing prices is the inclusion of MOC orders. These orders serve a variety of purposes, such as hedging against overnight market exposure or aligning with index funds and mutual funds whose benchmarks reflect closing prices. Despite their guarantee for market participation at close, MOC orders present risks; these include uncertainties in execution because of end-of-day price fluctuations. The security’s liquidity and the potential for significant price changes at close are factors traders must ponder. They could indeed impact not only execution, but also the final order price.

Market on close orders, alongside other approaches, such as take profit orders, are indispensable tools in a trader’s arsenal—they provide not only strategic execution but also risk management during the market’s critical closing phase. While MOC orders focus on executing at the closing price, good till cancel orders remain active until executed or explicitly canceled, offering flexibility for longer-term strategies. Utilizing them effectively demands more than a basic comprehension of market dynamics; it necessitates an intricate evaluation of both advantages and constraints associated with end-of-day trading.

The Dynamics of MOC Orders: A Detailed Exploration

Traders seeking to execute transactions at the end of a trading day, capturing the final available prices – they consider market on close (MOC) orders an indispensable tool. These specific orders are scheduled for execution precisely as the market closes; their timing and methodical execution reflect strict regulations and procedures established by exchanges ensuring fairness along with transparency.

Timing and Execution:

The exchange typically determines a cutoff time for placing MOC orders, usually several minutes before the closing bell; however, it’s crucial to note that this cutoff holds significant importance: it ensures all market participants have clear insight into potential trade volume and direction at close. It is important to note: once this specific cutoff time passes–MOC orders cannot be placed or modified. This stringent rule serves a pivotal purpose; specifically, it thwarts any potential last-minute manipulation of the closing price.

Prioritization and Handling by Exchanges:

By aggregating and executing MOC orders at the calculated closing price, exchanges prioritize them. The closing auction mechanism—used by exchanges to discover a price that balances buy and sell orders—is based on determining this price from the weighted average of executed trade prices. Furthermore, it guarantees fair execution for MOC orders while representing current market conditions at close.

Executing MOC orders en masse: this approach treats all orders equally–regardless of their size or the trader’s identity. The adoption of such an egalitarian strategy serves two crucial purposes; it maintains market integrity and ensures that the closing price truly reflects a consensus within the market.

MOC orders’ dynamics: a well-orchestrated process; it harmonizes traders’ needs with market fairness principles. Understanding the timing, execution, and prioritization of these orders empowers traders to strategically align their methods–leveraging available end-of-day trading liquidity and pricing for maximum advantage in closing market dynamics.

Navigating the Market with MOC Orders: Example

Let us delve into the operation of market on close (MOC) orders, which present traders with a potential tool for navigating Tesla’s (TSLA) stock volatility. These orders execute at the day’s closing price and can effectively manage market swings–an essential strategy in this turbulent world of strategic market timing. To illustrate their functionality, we will draw from Tesla’s recent price action: 


A Tesla stock (TSLA) trader closely monitors the market. The stock, after a near brush with $300 in June, exhibited a monster rally through the first half of 2023. Subsequently, it maintained trading within a broad range of $200 to $275.

In late January 2024, a company’s announcement regarding slowing sales precipitated a 12% tumble in the stock; this positioned Tesla with a 25% deficit for the year at that juncture. Despite recent positive news–specifically concerning Cybertruck developments–Tesla seemingly needs to regain some ground.

Look at just how volatile TSLA has been the last 6 months (July ’23 – the beginning of February ’24): 

Chart of Tesla stock (TSLA) over a 6-month period. Bollinger Bands overlay the price action, with wide expansions and contractions emphasizing the price volatility during this time.

Tesla (TSLA) 6-month chart highlighting volatile price action with Bollinger Bands.


Observing Tesla’s history and recent setbacks keenly, a trader may predict an upturn in price as February 8th, 2024 approaches its closure. Opting to execute an MOC order for purchasing Tesla shares, the trader aims to obtain the stock at that day’s concluding price point; this strategy intends to circumvent intra-day volatility while positioning strategically for potential end-of-day strength resurgence.


Aligning with the exchange’s cutoff time for MOC orders, the trader strategically places their order– precisely 45 minutes before market closure. The result: an executed transaction at a closing price of $189.00.


On the next trading day, Tesla stock: opening slightly higher than the close of the previous day–the MOC order enabled our trader to secure a position. Although potential gain may have been less significant compared to scenarios featuring larger gap-ups, this approach effectively reflected end-of-day momentum pricing without necessitating management of volatile intraday price swings.


The strategic utility of MOC orders in volatile markets, such as Tesla’s, is underscored by this example: Traders can potentially mitigate intraday fluctuations by targeting the closing price. Given Tesla’s propensity for oscillation within expansive price ranges – deploying MOC orders represents an effective position-management tool that circumvents continual surveillance of market prices. 

MOC Orders vs. Market Orders: A Comparative Analysis

Traders: they strategize with distinct roles–market on close (MOC) orders and traditional market orders; each offers unique benefits and situational uses. Understanding these differences, as well as the advantages associated with each strategy, is crucial to optimize one’s market strategies.

MOC Orders:

At a specific cutoff time, individuals must place MOC orders that will execute at the day’s closing price. These strategies aim to benefit from the final price movements of the day by either reacting to after-hours news or predicting next-day market gaps.

Traditional Market Orders:

Conversely, market orders execute immediately at the best available price; they lack a fixed execution price. These are optimal for prioritizing speed over precision of prices–especially beneficial in rapidly fluctuating markets.

Key Differences and Strategic Implications:

MOC orders prioritize the predictability of the closing price, but they sacrifice immediacy. Conversely; market orders ensure swift execution – albeit without any fixed price assurance: a crucial distinction in timing and cost management.

Strategic Application: Strategically valuing the day’s end price, we tailor MOC orders to suit strategies; this is particularly effective for strategic end-of-day positioning. In terms of execution, urgency outweighs price accuracy–making market orders your optimal choice.

Pooling with other end-of-day orders may reduce market impact and slippage of MOC orders, whereas in volatile or thin markets, market orders can experience slippage.

A trader’s goals, market conditions, and the trade-off between price certainty and execution speed determine the choice between MOC and market orders. Understanding these aspects empowers traders to enhance their market approach and strategy execution by better utilizing each order type.

Capitalizing on the Closing Bell: Benefits of MOC Orders

Traders, aiming to maximize the dynamics of end-of-day prices and capitalize on the rapid trading landscape, find market on close (MOC) orders pivotal; they offer a tailored suite of benefits.

MOC orders, with their ability to precisely target the day’s closing price, provide traders a strategic precision: this is crucial for strategies that depend on final daily prices. It offers an especially advantageous approach for tactics seeking to harness post-close news or those requiring analysis and settlement based on closing prices.

Market Impact Reduction: Large volume traders utilize MOC orders to merge with other end-of-day trades, thereby minimizing market impact. This amalgamation—by reducing the price slippage correlated to sizable orders—ensures a more consistent entry or exit at market close; thus, securing their positions effectively and efficiently.

MOC orders in Risk Management: these serve as instruments to enhance control over potential risks–particularly, ensuring trades are executed at the closing price. This strategy is crucial for positions held overnight; it offers predictability and safeguards against possible gaps or fluctuations that may occur when the market closes.

Opportunistic Trading: These orders enable traders to leverage the complete day’s information, undistracted by intraday volatility. This strategic approach proves particularly valuable in unstable markets; it is here that end-of-day positioning illuminates a clearer insight into overall market sentiment.

Simplifying Execution: Streamlining the trading process for those who focus on longer-term market trends rather than constant monitoring, MOC orders offer a dual advantage. They not only ease execution but also free up more time for strategic planning and analysis.

MOC orders, in essence, arm traders with a strategic advantage: they facilitate precise targeting of closing prices; minimize market impact – thereby bolstering risk management. Moreover – and this is crucially important for those operating within volatile markets – MOC orders present unique opportunities. It’s not just about the perks though – aligning trading strategies with market closure dynamics becomes much simpler when employing these critical tools.

Considering the Flip Side: Drawbacks of MOC Orders

Market on close (MOC) orders: they strategically target end-of-day prices, yet traders must carefully evaluate the limitations and risks associated with them. 

MOC orders primarily face the challenge of execution price unpredictability: significant fluctuations before market closure can result in an execution price radically divergent from the anticipated value–this is particularly prevalent in volatile markets where end-of-day prices often swing dramatically.

The non-execution or partial execution of MOC orders also presents a risk, especially when there is insufficient liquidity at the close, impacting the bid ask spread. This issue intensifies in less liquid markets or with large orders where matching counterparts may be scarce.

MOC orders maintain an inflexible stance: they cannot undergo modification or cancellation in proximity to market closing. This rigidity presents a potential problem–particularly when sudden shifts occur within market conditions; such circumstances offer no leeway for traders to adapt their positions accordingly, be it as a response towards last-minute news or recent developments in the market.

Risk Concentration: The market’s close presents a potential for unfavorable outcomes due to heavy reliance on MOC orders, particularly if the trader’s position contradicts the direction in which the market moves.

Balanced approach demands that traders meticulously weigh the advantages of MOC orders for capturing end-of-day prices, against their numerous drawbacks and risks. To deploy these orders effectively, it is imperative to factor in market conditions alongside strategies and risk tolerance; additionally, considering factors such as execution quality and subtly incorporating trade alerts could significantly enhance outcomes. 

Mastering Market Closures: Advanced MOC Order Strategies

Sophisticated strategies in mastering the use of market on close (MOC) orders hinge on an exhaustive understanding of market dynamics and impeccable timing. These advanced tactics can materially assist traders to navigate through the complexities of market closures:

Through historical volatility analysis and market sentiment, traders can anticipate spikes in volatility at market close; they leverage this volatility and employ MOC orders. This strategic positioning allows them to reap the benefits of expected price movements.

Pairing MOC orders with technical analysis can refine the precision of trade entries or exits; traders may choose to set these orders based on meeting specific day-end milestones in their strategy – for instance, exceeding resistance levels within the zone of resistance, or sustaining support levels.

Pre-News Positioning: Traders can minimize the risk of overnight exposure and capture the market’s immediate response to upcoming earnings reports or major news expected post-market close by strategically placing MOC orders.

Savvy traders employ a sector and index strategy, utilizing MOC orders to dynamically respond to sector rotation and index rebalancing; they align their portfolios with predicted market shifts at close. This strategic approach guarantees that portfolios precisely mirror anticipated market modifications.

Hedging: Traders can also use MOC orders as a tool to hedge against potential end-of-day price fluctuations, particularly in volatile markets or sectors; they achieve this by placing counterbalancing orders that mitigate possible losses.

Utilizing a nuanced approach to MOC orders, traders merge market insight with disciplined risk management: these advanced strategies underscore the significance. By meticulously applying this tactic–optimizing their end-of-day positioning and enhancing profit potential while protecting against excessive risks become achievable goals for these individuals. 


When employed judiciously, market on close (MOC) orders serve as a strategic tool that dramatically enhances a trader’s aptitude to steer through the intricate process of market closures with accuracy and efficiency: these unique orders blend timing–capitalizing on inherent advantages in closing prices; execution–mitigating risks tied to end-of-day trading volatility. It is important to note, therefore, that MOC transactions extend beyond simple trade executions; they form part of an overarching strategy which resonates harmoniously with the trader’s expansive market vision and tolerance for risk.

The value of a comprehensive trading strategy is underscored by the nuanced understanding and strategic application of MOC orders. These orders, whether leveraged to capitalize on price movements during the closing moments of the trading day or used as part of an intricate hedging strategy, provide a pathway towards enhanced market engagement. Nonetheless—just like all other types of orders—the effectiveness rests not only with what specific order is used, but also hinges upon how adeptly traders can incorporate them into their broader well-considered plans: ones that take into account both market dynamism and individual goals unique to each trader. The evolving trading landscape prompts traders to continuously adapt their strategies; in this pursuit for a strategic market advantage, MOC orders persist as pivotal elements. 

Market Order: FAQs

How Do MOC Orders Impact a Stock’s Closing Price?

By aggregating a significant volume of buy or sell orders to be executed at the market close, MOC orders can influence the closing price of a stock. The balance between buy and sell MOC orders determines this potential increase in volatility and fluctuations in the closing price.

Can MOC Orders Be Placed for Any Stock or are There Restrictions?

While MOC orders widely circulate, restrictions on certain stocks or market conditions may be enforced by exchanges or brokers. These precautions serve the purpose of upholding market integrity and deterring manipulation. Therefore, it remains crucial for you to confirm any potential limitations with your brokerage firm or the pertinent exchange.

Before the Market Closes, What is the Latest Time a Trader Can Place an MOC Order?

Placing MOC orders operates under varying cut-off times dictated by each exchange. Generally, a window of execution is maintained only until several minutes precede market closure; this provision facilitates the efficient aggregation and fulfillment of all MOC directives within that time frame. To illustrate: at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), for instance, they stipulate that placement for such requests must cease precisely by 3:45 PM Eastern Time.

How Do Traders Mitigate Risks Associated with MOC Order Slippage?

Traders can mitigate slippage risks by closely monitoring market conditions and volume at the close; they should adjust their order timing to avoid peak periods of volatility–furthermore, using limit orders is essential for specifying the maximum acceptable price. Crucially: staying informed about any news or events that could impact market prices at closure time significantly enhances risk management strategies.

Do MOC Orders Cater to All Types of Traders: From Day-Traders, Who Operate on Short Timeframes; To Long-Term Investors–Those with a More Patient Approach?

Both day traders and long-term investors can strategically employ MOC orders; however, their suitability pivots upon the objectives and risk tolerance of each trader. Day traders might choose to utilize MOC orders in order to circumvent overnight exposure– a practice also known as “overcome” or “close-out”. On the other hand, long-term investors may opt for these types of transactions with an aim towards executing trades based on closing prices: this allows them strategic entry points into or exits from positions within a market’s overall trend line. Nonetheless—it remains crucial that every individual involved in trading activities critically assesses both benefits and risks inherent within any given strategy—MOC orders included.