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Can I find out who is buying and selling certain shares?

Wednesday 23rd January 2002

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Q: I understand that market depth shows the number of orders lined up for shares at various prices, but how do I find out who is actually selling those shares?

A: When brokers look at a trading screen they can see nearly everything about the bid - including which brokers are bidding and offering which securities. This means all brokers can see when another broker has been particularly active in selling or buying a stock. However this information is generally not available to the public because brokers see the information on their own system.

Since early 2002 the 'public' can get access to market depth on some broker sites but this will only tell you details like prices and amounts - it will not tell you who is selling or buying the shares. This is really a private matter between the broker and the client.

Keep an eye out however for SSH (Substantial Security Holder) notices. These show who has increased or decreased their holding in a particular stock - although only if the amount accounts for a certain percentage of the shares issued.

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