LeetCode – Best Time to Buy and Sell Stock (Java)

Say you have an array for which the ith element is the price of a given stock on day i.

If you were only permitted to complete at most one transaction (ie, buy one and sell one share of the stock), design an algorithm to find the maximum profit.

Java Solution

Instead of keeping track of largest element in the array, we track the maximum profit so far.

public int maxProfit(int[] prices) {
        return 0;
    int min=prices[0]; // min so far
    int result=0;
    for(int i=1; i<prices.length; i++){
        result = Math.max(result, prices[i]-min);
        min = Math.min(min, prices[i]);
    return result;
Category >> Algorithms  
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  1. Albert on 2015-4-24

    The efficient approach wont’ calculate correctly if the fist element in the array has the highest value

  2. Burhan COKCA on 2015-6-13

    Dynamic programming solution. O(n) time complexity, O(n) space

    public int maxProfit(int[] prices) {

    if(prices.length == 0) return 0;

    int[] profit = new int[prices.length];

    for(int i=0; i< profit.length; i++){

    profit[i] = 0;


    int min = prices[0];

    for(int i=1; i< prices.length; i++){

    if(prices[i] < min) min = prices[i];

    profit[i] = Math.max(profit[i-1], prices[i]-min);


    return profit[prices.length-1];


  3. Internet Hero on 2015-8-6

    But since it is a time series, will you buy when high and sell when low?

  4. Xiang Li on 2015-8-15

    See my solution:

    public int maxProfit(int[] p) {

    if(p == null || p.length<=1) return 0;

    int len = p.length;

    int max = p[0];

    int min = p[0];

    int profit = 0;

    for(int i=1; i max) {

    max = p[i];


    if(p[i] < min) {

    min = p[i];

    max = p[i];


    profit = Math.max(max – min, profit);


    return profit;


  5. Holden on 2015-9-22

    Thanks for the nice post. But first solution fails at int[] price2 = {100, 90, 80, 70, 60};
    It should be:
    public static int maxProfit5(int[] array) {
    if(array == null || array.length < 2){
    return 0;
    int maxProfit = 0;
    for(int i = 0; i < array.length-1; i++){
    for(int j = i+1; j array[i] && maxProfit < array[j] - array[i]){
    maxProfit = array[j] - array[i];
    return maxProfit;

  6. amala rangnekar on 2016-3-28

    Inner for loop of naive solution must start from i and not 0. When buying a stock you can only see future values to sell it 🙂

  7. Hyde Zhang on 2016-11-1

    Not the first element has the highest value but elements in the array are in descending order, and this can be solved by setting the initial value of profit to prices[1] – prices[0] to get the maxProfilt / smallest lost

  8. Hyde Zhang on 2016-11-1

    Your “fails” can be fixed by simply setting the initial value of profit to prices[1] – prices[0] to get the maxProfilt / smallest lost

  9. Hu Zhang on 2017-7-22

    This is good solutions, me put one here too https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=PWkTQQL6zBA

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