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What are Level I, II and III Quotes - Thousands of Stock Trades take Place Everyday - What are level II quotes. Level II quotes for real-time quotes of the bid and ask prices for each individual market maker for a given stock. Each Market Maker competes for customer order flow by displaying buy and sell quotations for a guaranteed number of shares.
What are Level I, II and III Stock Quotes:
Thousands of stock transactions take place everyday, not only in the United States but also all over the world. Stock exchanges are familiar institutions in many of the world’s largest countries. When a stock is bought and sold, it has two kinds of prices, a bid price and an ask price. The bid price is what someone is willing to pay for the stock. The ask price is what the owner is willing to accept. Each of these prices is called a quote.

The stock markets in the United States have tiers of quotes. Level I, Level II and Level III quotes list the best bid price and the best ask price for each stock, but only Level II and Level III list more information about the market maker either buying or selling a given stock.

Looking at a Level I, Level II or Level III quotes can give an investor a basic idea of how a stock is performing at any given time.

Level I Quotes
Level I quotes real-time (non-delayed live) quotes of the best bid and ask prices for any individual stock. Level I quotes are what most investors get from their broker. You do not need special registration to use Level I quotes, and Level I quotes are what you see when you use most online stock services. Level I quotes provide only current "inside market/quote" or highest bid price and lowest ask price. Level I quotes do not let you see any limit orders or the total quantity of shares bid. Level I does not tell you which market maker is buying or selling shares of a particular stock. Because of the limited amount of in depth market information, Level I quotes tend to be of little use to the serious day trader. Level I quotes from the NYSE, NASDAQ or OTCBB exchanges are adequate information for the average stock market observer or investor.

Level II Quotes
Level II quotes are everything included in Level I quotes for real-time quotes of the bid and ask or buy and sell prices for each individual market maker if available for a given NYSE, NASDAQ or OTCBB stock. Level II quotes additionally let investors identify the market maker offering the lowest bid-ask spread for the stock. Level II quotes provides investors with considerably more information than Level I quotes. Day traders are most likely to use Level II quotes. NYSE, NASDAQ or OTCBB platforms dynamically screen-display current Level II quotes and execution prices of individual market makers. Level II quotes supply the name of market makers wishing to buy or sell the stock. Level II quotes also provide the size and time for recent transactions. Day traders find Level II quotes data useful because Level II quotes shows who is buying and selling the stock and how liquid it is at any given time. Level II quotes show likely short-term price direction of the stock. Level II quotes show support and resistance levels for stocks. Level II quotes were designed for broker/dealer firms so they had transparency on what all of the market makers were doing with a specific stock at the exact same time. Only in the past few years have Level II quotes become available for use by the general public and Level II quotes provide a big advantage for people who work as day traders or individual investors whose strategies requires them to follow program trading activity.

Level III Quotes
Level III quotes are everything included in Level I quotes and Level II quotes plus the ability to enter or change quotes, execute orders, and send out confirmations of trades. Only NYSE, NASDAQ or OTCBB member firms who are also market makers have Level III quotes capability. NYSE, NASDAQ or OTCBB restricts Level III quotes access to its registered member brokerages and institutions. Level III quotes from market makers are from brokerages and banks who are registered to use Level III quotes because they maintain a bid-ask price in a given security by standing ready to transact at publicly quoted prices. Level III quotes privileges allow brokerages to meet the best execution requirement to execute customer orders at the best price currently available. The Level III quotes platform lets the user receive bid/ask quotes as the instant trades are being executed. Level III quotes are the fastest way to execute a trade in any NYSE, NASDAQ or OTCBB stock.

For more information about Day-Trading: See our How to Use Level II Stock Quotes for Day Trading section.
Note: The NYSE, NASDAQ or OTCBB level I, level II and level III stock quotes data, stock market quotes, stock market charts and information provided here is for informational purposes only and is not for investing, day-trading, swing-trading, market analysis or technical indicators.