ETF price vs NAV

If you have bookmarked any link that you thought explains this well, please share.

I have read a few things online and get that an ETF price can diverge from its NAV (actual value of the underlying assets), but there appears to be no way in real time to know what that NAV price is. Ideally it is somewhere in the middle of the bid-ask spread, but in a very lightly traded stock the last trading price seen and bid/ask prices may be off NAV and sometimes significantly so at times of extreme market volatility.

I read that the final value of the ETF at the end of the trading day is the NAV value. I see in my stock app that at times there are spikes from the last trading price where the volume shows as N/A. Does anyone know what those are? For example I see for HLAL on Jun 15 there was a price of $36.9 followed by $36.94. Other trading days also have spikes upward after hours.

If this was NAV, that would mean that people are trading shares at values significantly less than nav most of the time, which doesn’t seem right. I’ve seen weird price spices intra-day as well with volume showing as N/A.

I am aware that part of ETF smooth functioning is to have some entities designated to buy and sell shares if market participants don’t provide that liquidity and the requested trade is far enough away from NAV, in order to limit the divergence, but I have no idea how much that spread is for specific ETFs e.g. HLAL, SPUS, etc.

I always use limit orders to avoid surprises on any large purchases or sales. In my 401K since there isn’t automatic reinvestment of dividends for ETFs I regularly buy ETF shares with resulting cash in my account. I experimented with market orders on small amounts a couple of times and saw they went through immediately with a price that looked reasonable.

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You can find the NAV on sites like, I don’t know where they get their data from

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