Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

Open Outcry
hand signals



presented by ITVS

independent lens

Hand Signals
Pages: 1 | 2 | 3


An Introduction to Hand Signals
Below are some of the hand signals used for successful trading in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange pits. For more examples of this unusual sign language, check out the interactive lessons on CME's Web site.

Buy / Sell
When indicating you want an offer to buy (signaling a bid), the palm of the hand always faces toward you. You can remember this by thinking that when you're buying, you're bringing something in toward you. When making an offer to sell (offering), the palm always faces away from you. Think of selling as pushing something away from you.

buy signal
buy
sell signal
sell


Quantity
To indicate quantity - the number of contracts being bid or offered - touch your face.

To signal quantities one through nine, touch your chin.

To show quantities in multiples of 10, touch the forehead.

To show quantities in multiples of 100, make a fist and touch the forehead.

one signal
one
10 signal
ten
100 signal
one hundred


Stop
Fist into palm; means that the order is a stop order (activated when the price reaches a certain level). At that point, a stop order becomes a market order and the broker must attempt to get the best price when filling it. Can be used to enter or exit both long and short positions. For example, if you are long and fear a drastic price drop, you can issue a stop order to be activated when the contract drops to a given price. Your stop then becomes a market order that the broker will attempt to fill before the price drops even more - even if it requires selling at or below the stop price. Likewise, a short can issue a "buy" stop order if he fears the price will rise.
stop signal
stop


Out/Cancel
Hand moves across throat; shows that the order has been canceled.
out signal
out


Glossary Options 101 Hand Signals Who's Who Resources Talkback The film The Trading Pit The Merc The Story Open Outcry