Last Updated: Oct 07, 2022 Value Broking 6 Mins 1.9K

The inverse of liquidity is illiquidity. Illiquidity refers to a company or organization lacking essential cash flow to meet its debt payments. This does not imply that the firm is devoid of assets. Capital assets, such as real estate and equipment, and machinery, have a high value but are difficult to sell when there is a need for cash, also known as liquidity.

Let’s have a look at the Illiquid stock meaning.

Illiquid Stock Meaning

Illiquid stocks are high-risk investments that cannot be easily and quickly sold or exchanged for cash without suffering a significant loss in value. They are challenging to sell because of the high cost, a lack of willing customers, a lack of trade activity, and other considerations.

Nonetheless, illiquid assets retain their worth and, in many situations, come at a high cost. Because of the low trading volume of illiquid stocks, investors have difficulty finding prospective buyers. The level of disparities between the asking price – established by the seller – and the bid price – submitted by the buyer gets influenced by the absence of ready customers. This disparity results in substantially wider bid-ask spreads than would be observed in a well-ordered market with everyday trading activity. The lack of market depth (DOM) or available buyers may result in losses for holders of illiquid assets, particularly when the investor is attempting to sell rapidly.

How to Identify Illiquid Stocks?

Below are some signs of certain stocks being illiquid. One should make sure to analyze the market thoroughly while keeping the following points in mind.

  • If institutional investors lose interest in a stock, it indicates poor performance in terms of return.
  • If the company does not have enough trading volume on a daily basis, the stock will likely be illiquid.
  • If the stock consistently falls in value, it is a sign of an illiquid stock.
  • If there is a significant discrepancy between the bid and ask prices, the stock will likely be illiquid.

Illiquid stocks are those that have little trading volume. Illiquid assets provide a higher income but are more challenging to sell than liquid assets. Even if an immediate sale occurs, it may be at a significant loss of value.

These assets and securities cannot be turned into cash easily. Another reason why illiquid assets may be hard to sell is because there is low trading activity or interest in the stock, indicated by a lack of ready and willing investors to purchase the stock. One other reason why the illiquid assets can be hard to sell is because of their low trading activity or interest for the stock, indicated by a low number of ready and willing investors to purchase the stock. Illiquid equities may have lower trading volume, larger bid-ask spreads, and increased price volatility as a result.

Illiquid Investment: Important for Diversification

Because of the numerous benefits that less liquid assets frequently bring, some long-term investors prefer the diversification benefits inherent in these assets owing to their lower beta or lower connection with the larger stock market. These assets are also less volatile, which means their values are more likely to remain steady over time because their price is not changed or “marked to market” regularly, as publicly-traded securities are. Low beta investments are essential in down markets since they might assist in reducing portfolio losses.

Risk Associated with Illiquid stocks

Illiquid assets are far riskier than liquid assets. This is liquidity risk. When the markets suffer an unfavorable scenario and the seller-to-buyer ratio is out of proportion, this ratio increases dramatically. At this point, holders of illiquid assets may be unable to sell their assets or may have to sell them at a significant loss. Some assets may demand a liquidity premium. This is to compensate for any losses that may occur if they become illiquid, making it difficult for the buyer to dispose of them.

How do I buy Illiquid Stocks

Here are some tips on how you can buy illiquid stocks.

  • Always use a limit order when purchasing stocks. You effectively instruct your broker to buy or sell the share at a specific maximum or minimum price with a limit order. This indicates that the order will perform only if the price is equal to or more than the selected limit.
  • Don’t use the All or None option.
  • If you try to acquire 1,000 shares, the chances of getting all 1,000 shares in one order are pretty low. If necessary, construct your position in blocks.
  • Try to keep commissions to less than 1% of your order total.
  • Stocks should not be bid up. Set it and forget it.
  • Small investors may always buy stock since it is constantly liquid.

Example of Illiquid Stocks

Houses and other real estate, autos, collectibles, private company interests, and various types of financial instruments are examples of illiquid assets. Certain antiques and works of art are also considered illiquid assets.

Over-the-counter (OTC) equities are frequently less liquid than those registered on a reputable exchange. Although these assets may have monetary worth, the market in which they exchange often has fewer purchasers than those looking to purchase comparably more liquid assets.

On the other hand, most listed assets traded on major exchanges, including stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, and listed commodities, are relatively liquid in terms of terminology and may be sold practically quickly during regular market hours, at fair market values.

Precious metals, such as gold and silver, are relatively liquid. Illiquidity may also emerge from trades made beyond typical business hours. This is due to the fact that many market players (or potential purchasers) are not active at certain times. The liquidity of an asset might alter over time depending on a variety of external market variables.


Illiquidity in business refers to a company’s inability to fulfill mandatory debt payments due to a lack of cash flow. Real estate and capital assets have high value but are difficult to sell when cash is required. In the event of an unanticipated event or an emergency situation, a corporation is forced to sell these assets in order to avoid bankruptcy. If this occurs fast, it has the potential to dispose of assets at prices significantly below an orderly fair market price.

Because of the restricted trading, illiquid stocks are difficult to sell. These equities pose more risks to investors since they are more difficult to sell than commonly traded shares. Make careful trading selections that are in line with your financial goals.