What is Illiquid Stock?

Written By:
May 1, 2024
What is Illiquid Stock?

Most investors are familiar with liquid stocks, the concept of illiquid stocks often raises questions. Illiquid stocks represent a different level of challenge and risk for traders and investors. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore what illiquid stocks are, how to identify them, and strategies for navigating this segment of the stock market.

What is an Illiquid Stock?

An illiquid stock is a security that lacks sufficient trading volume and market activity, making it difficult for investors to buy or sell shares without significantly impacting the stock's price. These stocks are often thinly traded, meaning there are fewer buyers and sellers in the market at any given time.

When a stock is illiquid, it can be challenging to execute trades quickly and efficiently. The lack of liquidity can lead to wider bid-ask spreads, which are the differences between the prices at which buyers are willing to buy (bid) and sellers are willing to sell (ask). This increased spread can result in higher transaction costs for investors.

How to Sell Illiquid Stocks?

  • Selling illiquid stocks can be a challenging task due to the limited number of potential buyers in the market. Here are some tips to consider when selling illiquid stocks:
  • Use limit orders to control the selling price, as market orders may result in significant price discounts due to the lack of liquidity.  
  • Be patient and willing to wait for the right buyer, as the order may take longer to execute compared to more liquid stocks.  
  • Work with a broker experienced in dealing with less liquid market segments, as they may have access to a wider network of potential buyers.  
  • Consider selling the shares in smaller batches over time, rather than trying to liquidate the entire position at once, to minimize the impact on the stock price.

How to Buy Illiquid Stocks?  

Purchasing illiquid stocks requires a different approach compared to buying more liquid stocks. Here are some strategies to consider when buying illiquid stocks:

  • Use limit orders to control the purchase price, as market orders may result in paying a higher price due to the wider bid-ask spread.  
  • Be patient and willing to wait for the right opportunity, as it may take time to find a seller willing to sell at the desired price.  
  • Conduct thorough research on the company and industry, as there may be less information available on these smaller, lesser-known companies.  
  • Consider starting with a small position and gradually building it up over time, rather than investing a large amount all at once.  
  • Work with a broker experienced in dealing with less liquid market segments, as they may have access to a wider network of potential sellers.  

How to Identify Illiquid Stocks?

There are several key characteristics that can help identify illiquid stocks:

1. Low trading volume: Illiquid stocks typically have low daily trading volumes, indicating a lack of active buyers and sellers in the market.  

2. Wide bid-ask spread: Illiquid stocks often have a significant difference between the bid (buy) and ask (sell) prices, reflecting the difficulty in finding willing buyers and sellers.  

3. Lack of price movement: Illiquid stocks may show little to no price movement over extended periods, suggesting a lack of trading activity to drive price changes.  

4. Small market capitalization: Illiquid stocks are often associated with smaller companies with lower overall market capitalization, which can contribute to their lack of liquidity.  

5. Limited institutional ownership: Illiquid stocks may have a narrow investor base, with fewer institutional investors participating in the market, further contributing to their illiquidity.  

Difference between Illiquid stock vs Liquid stock


Illiquid stocks are a unique and complex segment of the stock market, characterized by low trading volumes, wide bid-ask spreads, and limited market participation. Navigating the challenges of buying and selling these stocks requires a different approach compared to more liquid stocks, with a focus on patience, research, and working with experienced brokers. By understanding the key characteristics of illiquid stocks and the strategies for managing them, investors can potentially capitalize on the opportunities they present, while also being mindful of the associated risks.

FAQs on Illiquid stock

1. What makes a stock illiquid?

A stock can become illiquid due to various factors, including low trading volume, limited market interest, or a lack of market makers.

2. What is an illiquid stock example?

Examples of illiquid stocks include small-cap companies, over-the-counter (OTC) stocks, penny stocks, and stocks with low trading volumes or limited public float.

3. How to trade illiquid stocks?

Trading illiquid stocks requires patience, strategic order placement (e.g., limit orders), and potentially seeking assistance from brokers or market makers who specialize in illiquid securities. It's also important to understand the risks associated with illiquid stocks, such as potential price volatility and difficulty in executing trades.

4. Can I buy illiquid stocks?

Yes, it is possible to buy illiquid stocks, but it may require patience and careful execution. Strategies like placing limit orders, seeking broker assistance, or directly negotiating with existing shareholders can be employed when buying illiquid stocks.

5. What is considered an illiquid stock?

A stock with a low trading volume, wide bid-ask spreads, and limited market interest may be considered an illiquid stock.

Related Blogs

No items found.