Offer price

Market makers set an offer price of an underlying asset, which is what you – the trader – see when interacting with the markets. The offer price exists alongside the bid price, and the difference between these two points is called the spread – continue reading to find out more.



The offer price, which is often referred to as the ask price, is the minimum value that the seller (market maker) is willing to take for the underlying asset. In simple terms, the offer price is how much an investor will pay to buy the asset. 

What is it’s significance in the stock market?

The stock market is tied to supply and demand, so the offer price will decrease when nobody is buying the shares and increase when investors or buying shares. The fluctuation in offer price is essential to the stock market, as it allows investors to manipulate the market and turn a profit. 

How is the offer price determined for a particular investment?

Pricing a stock begins with an IPO (initial public offering). Businesses work alongside investors to set initial prices for the public listing. Typically, this price is determined by potential demand and valuation. 

After the IPO, the stock is released on a secondary market like the London Stock Exchange, which is where the general market becomes a voter in terms of price. In most cases, buyers and sellers are constantly bidding for new prices. When sellers outweigh buyers, the price of the bid decreases. When the buyers outweigh the sellers, the price decreases. 

What factors affect the offer price of an investment?

There are many different factors that affect the price of an investment, which include the following: 

  • Investor selling: Investors see less value in shares. 
  • Share buyback: The company buys back shares. 
  • Breaking news: Positive and negative news affects investor perspectives. 
  • Wider economy: Inflation, deflation, interest rates, general outlook. 

What is the difference between offer price and bid price?

The offer price is set by market markers. As the name suggests, the bid price is set by the buyers and the difference between the two points is called the spread. The spread is how market makers are able to turn a profit – a high spread often means a higher profit. 

Buyers often use bids to their advantage. For example, if a stock costs £50 and a buyer is willing to pay £40, they may put a bid in of £35. The seller will likely say no to this, but allow a settlement of £40, which is right where the buyer wanted to be in the first place. 

How do investors evaluate the offer price of an investment?

Before parting with money, investors have to understand the value of an offer price for a given asset. There are four primary ways of doing this, including:

  • Price-to-earnings ratio (P/E): How long an investment will take to pay back provided there are no changes.
  • Price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio: Factors in historical growth to P/E, as there will naturally be changes along the way. 
  • Price-to-book (P/B) ratio: The value of a company if it was liquidated today. 
  • Dividend yield: Dividend-paying stocks always pay out, regardless of fluctuation, making them instantly valuable. 

What is the relationship between the offer price and the market value of an investment?

Market value, also known as market capitalisation, allows investors to understand the worth of a company in the open market. Naturally, if the price of an investment doesn’t align with the market cap, then the offer price is likely too high. 

The simplest definition it is the cost of the underlying asset to the buyer, but this is influenced by many different factors.