Time and Sales Data Explained

What is time and sales data and how do you read it? It tells you the volume, price and direction along with date and time. In other words, it’s an overview of the market. You’re getting recent highs and lows with the last traded price. Hence why scalping is a style that would use this. You have the detailed information you need.

How Do You Read Time and Sales Data?

  1. Here’s how you read time and sales data:
  2. Volume – order size.
  3. Price – order fill price.
  4. Direction – buy or sell order.
  5. Date – date of the order.
  6. Time – time order filled.

Do you use time and sales data? Time and sales data is another tool available to traders.

Since there are many different tools at your disposal, it’s important to know what works for your style. Time and sales can be used for any type of trading; such as day trading, swing trading or long term investing. Although, because of it’s function, day traders typically find it the most helpful.

Why is this more helpful for scalping then swing trading? Time and sales shows real time trades. When you’re scalping, you’re in a trade for seconds; in and out as quickly as possible. Whereas swing trading is holding a stock for more than a day.

With swing trading techniques you don’t necessarily need to know the trades being made in real time. It won’t be the same the following day.

What Does Time and Sales Include?

Time and Sales Data

There are four things that make up time and sales data. Those are date and time, direction, price and volume. Let’s break it down.

Date and time is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the date and time the trade occurred. For example, if someone placed a trade on 6/1/18 at 9:31 and sold and sold 9:35 the closing time would be the time you’d see.

Direction is whether the trade was a buy or sell. You would see both long and short trades as well as the cover. In other words, you see the buy orders and sell orders.

Price is the price the trade happened at. In other words, you’d see the price the trade closed as not when it was opened.

Volume is the number of shares that were traded. If someone bought 866 shares then you’d see what amount of shares that were sold. Let’s say they only closed half of their position. You’d see 433 on time and sales.

Where Do I Find This Information?

Time and sales data is typically included in the platform you use. Using it in conjunction with charts is the most effective way to utilize it. You want to make sure, if you’re new to trading, that you know how to read charts before utilizing this tool. Read our post on how to read stock charts for beginners.

There is a window set aside for this use. All you have to do is add it with your charts. It’s not something that’s already there for you. In this case, you want to make sure you have a good day trading computer set up.

If you have a small computer screen, you won’t be able to have too many windows up. That can take away from the tools at your disposal. Make sure you have the best laptop for trading.

time and sales data

This is the time and sales data on Thinkorswim through . You can see time, price and size of each trade placed. The green are buy orders and the red are sell orders. Take our TD AmeritradeThinkorswim tutorial  to learn how to set up your own.

What Do the Colors Mean on Time and Sales Data?

  1. Here’s what the colors mean on time and sales data:
  2. Green mean that orders are getting filled on the ask.
  3. Red means that trades are being filled on the bid.
  4. White orders are filled between the bid and the ask.

Don’t Use It Alone

Time and sales data is great but you don’t want to use just that information to trade. Candlesticks and patterns coupled with technical indicators will go along way, especially when trading penny stocks.

You may see buy orders coming in on time and sales but the charts are showing dark cloud cover patterns. Either someone knows something you don’t or they don’t know patterns.

That in and of itself is disastrous. You can compare tweezer bottom patterns to the time and sales data to see if it matches up.  If you’ve spent any time trading, you know that candlesticks and patterns are the name of the game.

All the other tools are just that; tools. They’re there to confirm what you’re seeing.

Practice Time and Sales Data

Time and sales data is a lot going on. It sounds easy to use but when you’re a new trader, it can be overwhelming. The important thing to do is practice.

Open up a paper trading account and make thousands of practice trades. Everyone wants to jump right in and start making money but that’s not realistic. When you practice using these tools you can hone your craft.

Just like a doctor has to study for a long time before going out on their own, trading is no different. You need stock training to study and practice and study some more. Only then will you become a successful trader.

2 comments on “Time and Sales Data Explained

  1. Max Luca on

    What Do the Colors Mean on Time and Sales Data?
    Here’s what the colors mean on time and sales data:
    Green mean that orders are getting filled on the ask.
    Red means that trades are being filled on the bid.
    White orders are filled between the bid and the ask.
    This is a Lazy man’s explanation of what the colors mean… you’re saying practically nothing..
    Can you explain further? e.i. What does it men when orders are getting filled on the Ask? .. What does it mean when orders are getting filled on the Bid? …. between the Bid and the Ask? Are there advantages, disadvantages to where they are getting filled.. Are there preferences to a day trader where the orders are getting filled? I bet you won’t answer me?!

    Sorry if I sound harsh but everyone gives more or less the same useless explanation to the meanings behind the colors which only makes me think no one really gets it!!!

  2. Bill on

    Uh… The explanation sounds sufficient, do you need to have ask and bid explained to you?

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