Exactly. Your statement nails it. When Joe Blow bought his favorite stock, he would just go in and buy it. Multiply Joe by ten thousand and you have a daytrader's paradise, a sea of investors too greedy or blind to care about working their price and happy to give up an eighth or a half or a buck to any daytrader with the sense to reach out and grab it. But the institutions are smarter. They hire professionals to work their orders, take it in dribs and drabs, and give up as little juice as possible before the position is in place. You can still take from them- elephants have to run the size up or down sooner or later- but it takes a lot more patience, and ten seconds or even ten minutes often ain't enough to cut it. This is precisely why so many short term traders are gasping for air.