What Is a Stock Gap? Definition, How it Happen, and Types

What Is a Stock Gap Definition, How it Happen, and Types

What Is a Stock Gap?

what is Stock Gap

A stock gap denotes a discontinuity in a security’s price chart, where the price either increases or decreases significantly from the previous day’s close without any trading occurring in between. These gaps commonly occur due to news events or shifts in market fundamentals during non-trading hours.

Understanding Stock Gaps

Stock gaps typically arise when news or events trigger a surge of buyers or sellers into the security, resulting in the price opening at a level substantially different from the previous day’s closing price. Depending on the type of gap observed, it may signal the initiation of a new trend or a reversal of an existing one.

Why Do Stock Gaps Happen?

Stock gaps manifest when a security’s stock price opens significantly higher or lower than its previous closing price. These gaps typically emerge overnight during pre-market or after-hours trading sessions on US exchanges.

The catalysts behind these abrupt price shifts are often earnings reports, major news announcements, or significant corporate events that prompt a surge in buying or selling activity.

Types of Stock Gaps

Common Gap:

In general, there is no major event that precedes a common gap. These gaps generally get filled relatively quickly (usually within a couple of days) compared to other types of gaps. They are also known as “area gaps” or “trading gaps” and tend to be accompanied by normal average trading volume.

Breakaway Gap:

A breakaway gap occurs when the price gaps above a support or resistance area, indicating a breakout from established trading ranges or chart patterns.

Runaway Gap:

A runaway gap, typically seen on charts, occurs when trading activity skips sequential price points, usually driven by intense investor interest.

Exhaustion Gap:

An exhaustion gap is a technical signal marked by a break lower in prices (usually on a daily chart) that occurs after a rapid rise in a stock’s price over several weeks prior.

Examples of Stock Gaps

Let’s consider examples of stock gaps observed in prominent companies:

  1. Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN):

Amazon stock gap example

A small stock gap occurred between Oct. 26, 2023, and Oct. 27, 2023, when the price jumped from $119.57 to $127.74. This indicated a reversal from a downward trend.

  1. Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL):

Alphabet google stock gap example

A gap was observed from Oct. 24, 2023, to Oct. 25, 2023, when the price fell from $138.81 to $125.61 after weeks of a general price increase. The gap drop did not result in a continued downward trend; instead, the price continued to increase to its pre-gap level, filling the gap.


Why Do Stock Gaps Fill?

Stock gaps fill when prices return to their pre-gap levels, often after the initial surge or decline prompted by significant news or events.

What Is Price Gap Risk?

Price gap risk refers to the potential for a security’s price to fluctuate dramatically between market closes and opens, without any trading activity in between.

How Often Do Stocks Gap?

The frequency of stock gaps varies depending on the timeframe analyzed. Shorter timeframes, such as daily charts, tend to exhibit more frequent gaps compared to longer-term charts.

How does a stock gap up or down?

A stock gap arises when the market reopens with a significantly higher or lower stock price compared to the previous closing price, driven by after-hours trading activity or newsworthy events.


Understanding stock gaps is crucial for traders and investors, providing valuable insights into market sentiment and potential price movements.

By discerning the different gap types and their implications, market participants can make informed decisions to capitalize on opportunities or mitigate risks effectively.



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