Search Dictionary

Definition of 'Spreads'

A spread is the difference between the bid and ask prices of a financial instrument. The bid price is the highest price that a buyer is willing to pay for an asset, while the ask price is the lowest price that a seller is willing to accept. The spread is an important concept in finance because it represents the cost of doing business for market makers, who are the firms that facilitate trading by providing liquidity to the market.

Market makers make money by buying an asset at the bid price and selling it at the ask price. The difference between these two prices is their profit. However, market makers also take on risk by doing this, as they may not be able to sell the asset at the ask price if the market price falls.

The size of the spread can vary depending on a number of factors, including the liquidity of the market, the volatility of the asset, and the time of day. In general, more liquid markets have smaller spreads, as there are more buyers and sellers willing to trade at close prices. Volatility can also affect the spread, as a more volatile asset is more likely to experience large price swings, which can make it difficult for market makers to predict the future price. Finally, the time of day can also affect the spread, as spreads tend to be wider during periods of low trading activity.

Spreads are an important concept for investors to understand, as they can have a significant impact on the profitability of a trade. By understanding how spreads work, investors can make more informed decisions about when to trade and which assets to trade.

In addition to the bid-ask spread, there are a number of other types of spreads that can be used to measure the cost of trading. These include:

* The net cost of carry: This is the difference between the spot price of an asset and the forward price. The net cost of carry includes the cost of financing the asset, as well as any storage or insurance costs.
* The implied volatility spread: This is the difference between the implied volatility of an option and the historical volatility of the underlying asset. The implied volatility spread can be used to measure the market's expectations for future volatility.
* The basis spread: This is the difference between the price of an asset in one market and the price of the same asset in another market. The basis spread can be used to measure the relative value of an asset in different markets.

By understanding the different types of spreads, investors can gain a better understanding of the cost of trading and make more informed decisions about their investments.

Do you have a trading or investing definition for our dictionary? Click the Create Definition link to add your own definition. You will earn 150 bonus reputation points for each definition that is accepted.

Is this definition wrong? Let us know by posting to the forum and we will correct it.