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What Are Thinly Traded Securities

18 Sep 2023

Financial markets have several assets, but one subset of assets that often goes unseen is thinly traded securities. These instruments, including stocks, bonds and other forms of financial instruments, have lower trading volumes than their more liquid counterparts. 

What Are Thinly Traded Securities?

Thinly traded securities cannot easily be converted to cash without experiencing an unexpected price change. Moreover, they are exchanged in low volumes with limited buyers and sellers. Hence, this can cause rapid price fluctuation when transactions do take place. These securities are also referred to as being "illiquid."

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Characteristics of Thinly Traded Securities

Here is what you need to know about thinly traded securities:

1. Low Liquidity

One hallmark of thinly traded securities is their low liquidity. So, this means fewer buyers and sellers are on the market. Hence, it leads to wider bid-ask spreads and greater price volatility. As a result, traders looking to buy or sell thinly traded securities may struggle to find counterparties at their desired prices.

2. Limited Public Interest

As thinly traded securities often slip under the radar of investors and analysts, receiving less media coverage and attention, gathering information and assessing their value may be challenging.

3. Increased Price Volatility

Due to the limited trading activity, even a few buy or sell orders can significantly impact the price of thinly traded securities. Hence, this heightened price volatility can present opportunities and risks for investors.

What Are The Risks Associated With Thinly Traded Securities?

Thinly traded stocks may not necessarily be bad investments but involve greater risk than liquid investments. Many value investors looking for bargain investments may see thinly traded stocks trading at discounted prices. However, selling them quickly at a favorable price can prove more challenging than anticipated.

Consider this - if investors with thinly traded securities suddenly require selling quickly, then they need to take a loss to quickly liquidity them. This is because there may not be an adequate supply of buyers. Sometimes, even selling the security at all may be impossible. 

Should You Invest In Thinly Traded Securities? 

Thinly traded securities can be an unpredictable investment option. While their lower visibility and potential undervaluation offer substantial potential gains, their limited liquidity makes trading these assets riskier and more challenging than usual. Investing in thinly traded securities depends on your risk tolerance, investment goals, and research capabilities. 

Experienced investors willing to put extra effort into due diligence may find consider a great addition to their portfolio with rewarding returns. Further, newcomers should proceed cautiously or seek professional guidance.


Thinly traded securities are a high-risk, high-reward strategy to trade in small amounts while leveraging high volatility. Because of the volatile nature of these instruments, one may benefit from both short-term and long-term financial appreciation.


Related Articles: What Is Statistical Arbitrage and How Does It Work | Difference Between FII And DII | What Are The Impacts Of Buyback On Share Price | What Happens When a Company Buys Back Stocks


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