What is a Bracket Order & How Does It Work?

Understanding what a bracket order is can significantly enhance your trading strategy in the stock market. This post provides a detailed look at bracket orders, their workings, benefits, and how they compare to cover orders.

What is a Bracket Order?

A bracket order in the stock market allows traders to manage their risk and lock in profits by placing a primary order with two additional orders attached. The bracket order meaning involves placing a profit-taking limit order and a stop-loss order along with the primary order. This setup helps automate the trading process, ensuring the trader exits the position at predefined levels, minimising risk, and maximising potential gains.

For example, a trader might place a buy order for a stock at Rs. 100. With a bracket order, they can simultaneously place a sell limit order at Rs. 110 to take profits and a stop-loss order at Rs. 95 to limit losses.

This strategy ensures that the position will automatically close when the price reaches either of the specified levels without constant monitoring. This automated approach allows traders to focus on other opportunities in the stock market, knowing that their positions are protected and managed efficiently.

Further, these orders are versatile and can be used across various trading strategies, including day trading, swing trading, and long-term investments. This flexibility makes them an essential tool for traders aiming to achieve consistent results while managing risk effectively.

How Does Bracket Order Work?

A bracket order links three orders: the initial order, a take-profit order, and a stop-loss order. The trader places an initial buy or sell order for a specific stock. Alongside this, a sell limit order is placed to take profits once the stock reaches a higher price than the purchase price. Simultaneously, a stop-loss order is placed to sell the stock if the price falls below a certain level, limiting potential losses.

Once the initial order is executed, the bracket orders become active. If the stock price hits the profit target, the take-profit order is executed, and the stop-loss order is automatically cancelled. Conversely, if the price hits the stop-loss level, the stop-loss order is executed, and the take-profit order is cancelled. This automatic execution helps traders manage their positions efficiently and reduces the emotional aspect of trading.

The ability to automate these processes is a significant advantage, as it frees up time for traders to analyze other market opportunities and make more informed decisions.

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Furthermore, the predefined nature of the orders ensures that traders adhere to their trading plans and risk management strategies, which is essential for maintaining consistency and discipline in the stock market.

Benefits of a Bracket Order

Using a bracket order offers several benefits to traders. First, bracket orders help manage risk by setting predefined stop-loss levels and limiting potential losses. This structured approach to risk management is crucial for protecting capital and sustaining long-term trading success.

Second, traders can lock in gains by setting a take-profit order without continuously monitoring the market. This ensures that profits are realised at optimal levels, contributing to a more stable return on investment.

Thirdly, bracket orders automate the trading process, executing orders automatically based on preset conditions, which reduces the need for constant market supervision.

Automation helps reduce errors and improve the efficiency of trade execution. Fourthly, since the orders are set in advance, traders can avoid emotional decision-making, often leading to poor trading outcomes. Emotional trading can cause irrational decisions, leading to unnecessary losses. Bracket orders help maintain a disciplined approach.

Lastly, bracket orders can be used in various trading strategies for day trading, swing trading, or longer-term investments. This flexibility allows traders to adapt their use of bracket orders to different market conditions and trading goals, enhancing their overall trading strategy.

Difference Between Bracket Order and Cover Order

Understanding the difference between bracket and cover orders is essential for traders utilising these tools effectively.

A bracket order consists of three orders: the initial order, the take-profit order, and the stop-loss order. This means it not only limits losses but also locks in profits. Conversely, a cover order involves only two orders: the initial and stop-loss orders. The primary focus of a cover order is on limiting potential losses.

Feature Bracket Order Cover Order
Definition A set of three orders: initial order, take-profit, and stop-loss. A two-legged order: initial order and stop-loss.
Components Initial buy/sell, take-profit limit, and stop-loss orders. Initial buy/sell and stop-loss orders.
Risk Management Provides both profit-taking and loss-limiting mechanisms. Primarily focuses on limiting losses.
Use Case Suitable for traders looking to automate profit-taking and risk management. Suitable for traders primarily focused on risk management.
Order Placement More complex due to three orders. Simpler with just two orders.

While both orders aim to manage risk, bracket orders offer the added advantage of setting a profit target, making them more comprehensive for automated trading strategies. Cover orders, on the other hand, are simpler and are mainly used to minimise losses with a single stop-loss order.


Understanding what a bracket order is and how it works can greatly enhance a trader’s ability to manage risk and secure profits in the stock market. With risk management, profit lock-in, and automation benefits, a bracket order is valuable for novice and experienced traders.

For those interested in incorporating bracket orders into their trading strategy, it is essential to open a demat account and get started with a reliable brokerage platform.

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