IB - Can't manage multiple positions?

Discussion in 'Retail Brokers' started by Spiderbird, May 3, 2010.

  1. Hi all,

    Apologies if this is not posted in the right section (and please point me in the right direction if it isn't).

    I just learned that IB does not give you the option of managing multiple lots of a stock purchase. Meaning, if I buy 200 shares of GLD, and 200 more a week later, they both are shown together as 400. Any GTC stop on the stock applies for both lots.

    Is this really the case, and if so, is there another broker like IB that allows you to do this with their software?

    I like IB's fee structure (can't go wrong with $1 per transaction), but this sort of kills any management of position if I can't do this.

    Thanks in advance for any responses.

    - Bird
  2. ???? just do a GTC on 200 shares or whatever. Your question makes little sense.
  3. LeeD


    Indeed you can have 2 different stop orders 200 in size each.

    If you want to see separate P&L for each lot of 200 shares, you need 3rd party software to display it, not different broker.
  4. Thanks Leed. Have any suggestions on software?

    And let me clarify.. hypothetically:

    100 shares of ABC at $10 a share - April 10th
    100 shares of ABC at $14 a share - April 17th

    I want to have to different stop orders that are GTC.

    For the first lot of 100 shares, a hard stop at $8 a share.
    For the second lot purchased April 17th at $14 a share, a trailing stop of 2%.

    Make more sense?
  5. LeeD


    You can set up stops the way you want with IB. The only complication is you may have to type in the trailing stop details (like opening price) manually. I believe NinjaTrader should do the job... To reiterate, you do not need any 3rd party software to place orders you want with IB. 3rd party software will be mostly useful to display the accumulated position as separate trades for convenience.
  6. Great Leed. Thanks again for the help. Much appreciated. :)
  7. LeeD


    My pleasure to help. Good luck!
  8. kgoodfl


    I like to place brackets at the same time I place the order so that they are in place as soon as the stock hits the buy price (so I have a stop loss immediately). But, you cannot do this if you are buying available equity across accounts. Then you have to use percent change and do it afterwards. And if you do this, it has to be 100% of the shares because if you try to do 50% and 50% with different stops. It does not do the calculations properly. If you have 200 shares you might end up with 99 and 99. I have had a couple of situations where it kept one share in one account and shorted one share in another.

    It also makes me crazy that you can't change any parameters of an order. You have to cancel and start completely over. Seems ridiculous.

    I feel like I waste a huge amount of time entering parameters of brackets over and over whenever I want to change something or even just to put a bracket on after a buy.
  9. borg


    IB knows only BUY and SELL, that is, SHORT means SELL and COVER SHORT means BUY. Thus IB does not distinguish individual positions of the same security.

    In a spread order, you may maintain a LONG and a SHORT position at the same time, and have profit targets for both (no stop loss orders, but profit targets!). For many spread traders it is not desirable to mix the two and see just the difference of LONG and SHORT quantities.

    IB's TWS is not designed to do this. What can you do in order to alleviate the situation?

    (a) If you have subaccounts you can place the LONG order on subaccount 1 and the SHORT order on subaccount 2. Drawback: You have to make interaccount transfers in order to maintain the same buying power on both accounts.

    (b) If you trade futures or options, trade two different expiration dates for LONG and SHORT, or trade correlating securities, e.g. LONG for Gold and SHORT for Silver, both in the same account.

    (c) Develop a proprietary order entry system by using IB's API which shows you what IB doesn't show. Drawback: No interaccount transfer automation possible with IB's API (by now).

    As you see, there is no really satisfying solution, to my knowledge.