Understanding Block Trades and How to Find Them

Thu Feb 27, 2020, 06:44 pm | by Delaney | No comments

There are tons of signals, indicators, and news catalysts you can pay attention to when it comes to day trading. Some are based on the news, others are based on financial data, and some are based on what other traders are doing, including block trades.

Block trades are large buy or sell orders that are typically an indication of what an institution is doing to their portfolio, and can give you an idea of what stocks to keep your eye on, and maybe even trade yourself. 

What are Block Trades? 

When hedge funds or institutional investors want to buy or sell large amounts of a security, they will do so with a block trade. 

Block trades technically include trades of at least 10,000 shares, but typically involve more. They can also include $200,000 in bonds. 

The reason hedge funds and institutional investors use block trades is to avoid creating volatility in the volume and value. Often, those looking to block trade use an intermediary to assist. 

A blockhouse is a firm that will help investors looking to make large trades outside the open markets. Blockhouses specialize in this and can help avoid creating volatility. To do this, they may break up the large order into smaller orders. Additionally, blockhouses can negotiate a price for the buyer and seller. 

Why Should Retail Traders Care About Block Trades? 

Block trades can give you an idea of what might those managing large sums of money think about the stock. Everyday retail traders can’t always know why a block trade is made, but it can give you an idea of a ticker to keep your eyes on. 

How to Find Block Trades 

Benzinga Pro makes it easy to find these large trades with the Signals tool. All you have to do is pull up the Signals tool and make sure the block trades Signal is checked. Here, you can easily see the time, ticker, description of the block trade. 

The block trade description will read like this: 

Block Trade: TICKER # OF SHARES @ PRICE 

For example, at 11:04 a.m. EST on February 27th, Benzinga Pro detected the following block trade:

Block Trade: CZR 1.3M @ 12.81 at the ask

Some Signals will show at the ask, above the ask, below the bid, or at the bid. Above or at the ask shows that the investor or trader is bullish, while below or at the bid indicates a bearish move. 

If the alert doesn’t mention the ask or bid, you can start watching it right away with the chart to try and guess if it was a bullish or bearish move. 

Final Thoughts 

Block trades are very large orders that are typically made by hedge funds or institutional investors. They are done to avoid creating market volatility, and blockhouses help investors make the trade. For the retail trader, keeping an eye on these large trades can help you see what an institution may be feeling toward a particular stock in their portfolio. 

Disclaimer: Benzinga is a news organization and does not provide financial advice and does not issue stock recommendations or offers to buy stock or sell any security. Benzinga Pro is for informational purposes and should not be viewed as recommendations. Benzinga Pro will never tell you whether to buy or sell a stock. It will only inform your trading decisions. You can find our full disclaimer located here.