Is a Stocks Trade Volume Important?

If you ever look at the volume leaders for the trading day, you will almost always find major stocks like Bank of America Corporation (BAC). On Aug. 19, 2021, the trading volume for BAC totaled 46.5 million. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc (AMD) was even higher at 59.2 million. Those are big numbers, but where do they come from, and what do they mean?

The first part of the question can be answered with ease: market exchanges. The second part requires a little more detail. While volume is only one tool of many, it adds value to your investment decision.

How It Works

Calculating volume is simply the total amount of shares traded for the day, which includes both buy and sell orders. You can determine the daily trading volume on your own—all transactions are publicly available—by calculating the total amount of shares traded.

However, it’s much easier to look at the daily trading volume on any stock chart. Time is money, after all, and it would be wise to save time. Daily trading volume shouldn’t be confused with dollar volume, which is a stock’s share price times its daily volume.

Why It Matters

If you see a stock that’s appreciating on high volume, its more likely to be a sustainable move. If you see a stock that’s appreciating on low volume, it could be a dead cat bounce. Logically, when more money is moving a stock price, it means there is more demand for that stock.

If a small amount of money is moving the stock price, the odds of that move being sustainable are lower. Also, be careful of low-volume (illiquid) stocks, where you could end up trapped in a pump and dump scheme. Even if you were trying to play the artificial move, you might not be able to find a seller if the volume is low and youd be locked into a losing trade.

Low-Trade Volume Stocks

There is one exception for buying low-volume stocks, which is when you have done your due diligence and concluded that you have found a good company that has yet to be discovered. In this scenario, you would have gotten in ahead of the curve. When volume increases, you will have the potential for a multi-bagger, which is every investor’s dream scenario.

Another reason to steer clear of most low-volume stocks is the bid-ask spread. With illiquid stocks, the bid-ask spread is going to be wide, which can be costly. A high-volume stock, such as the aforementioned BAC, often has a tight bid-ask spread of a penny, which should do you minimal to no harm.

When you look at daily trading volume, don’t just look at the trading volume for that particular day. This could be a small-cap stock that popped or dropped on the news. In most cases, this won’t be sustainable. Instead, look at the three-month average daily trading volume, which will give you a much better idea of whether the stock offers liquidity.

If you’re on the hunt for high-volume stocks, then you might want to begin with the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or Nasdaq. These exchanges have stricter requirements than other exchanges, which is positive because it keeps the riff-raff out of play.

The Bottom Line

Calculating volume is easy. Understanding what volume means is more important. While this should never be the only factor when weighing an investment or trading decision, it should always play a role, as it can impact your investments and trading strategy.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.

  1. Yahoo! Finance. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD). Accessed Aug. 19, 2021.

  2. Yahoo! Finance. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD). Accessed Aug. 19, 2021.

Reach out

Find us at the office

Exel- Frazzitta street no. 61, 44925 Kingston, Norfolk Island

Give us a ring

Jovanny Boeding
+23 274 947 142
Mon - Fri, 10:00-21:00

Tell us about you