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I'm sure you can see I am new to stocks, but what does it mean when you look up a symbol/quote and the bid and ask looks something like this:

Bid: $ .01 x 100

Ask: $ 9,000 x 100

For example today I looked up Pixar (PIXR). The last trade was $68.00. It was up $.13, but the bid and ask looked like the example above. Thank you for your help and your patience with the new guy!

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You must have looked at this quote after hours - Bid and Ask size is in 100's - so 1 is 100 10 is 1,000 and 100 is 10,000. However, After hours sizes always appear to be 100 when they are in the extreme like your example.

The difference in price is due to the market being closed. If you used a different source i.e., CBSMarketwatch or actually went to one of the ECN's like Island, you would see the actual offered prices. Although, the spread after hours can become pretty dramatic. Often buyers are looking for a good deal, and hoping some poor shmuck will place a market order to sell and they catch a huge bargain. For example, PIXR closes at $68 and the after hours trading is light. As a buyer I might place a limit buy order for $66. As a seller you might set an ask price of $68.50. Both orders sit there until someone moves their price. Now some poor guy comes along and places a market sell order. His sell order automatically executes at the highest BID price. I make a nice little $2 per share profit. Obviously this can go the other way as well with buy orders. If you are going to trade in after hours, I strongly recommend you ONLY use limit orders. Also has pre/after hours quotes which are usually only a few minutes off from real time. Otherwise, wait for the market to open, and since you are new to trading, give it thirty minutes to settle before placing a panic buy or sell order.

You also may want to read through some of the beginner investment guides offered on most major websites. I know Motley Fool has an excellent one, as does the Wall Street Journal and Reuters. I'm sure others do as well; I just haven't bothered with them.

Just my opinion - don't take this to the bank!

Good Luck jhg1226
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