The tutorial examines the US Stock Market Trading Hours, including its operations, pre-market, after-hours, and trading procedures:
The US stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m. on major exchanges. Trading ends at 1 p.m. for the case of early closure days, namely right before or after a market holiday (all times are in EST). There are also pre-market and after-hours trading sessions aside from official trading times.
Electronic trading sessions take place outside regular market hours. Pre-market hours begin as early as 4 a.m. and end as late as 9:30 a.m. EST. Regular trading begins after pre-market hours and continues until after-hours, which spans from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. EST. while the duration of the sessions changes daily.
There are also no regular trading hours on weekends. Trading starts on Sunday for many stock markets.
This tutorial looks at the US stock market, how it works, the trading hours, pre-market and after-hours, and how trading happens then, trading hours for major stock markets around the world, as well as when it is the best time to trade on stock markets around the world.
What You Will Learn:
- Stock Market Trading Hours
- United States Stock Market Operating Hours
- Trading US Stocks During Regular Market Hours: General Tips
- Commodities Trading Hours in the United States
- International Stocks Trading Hours
- Can You Trade on Stock Exchanges During Holidays
- Cryptocurrency and Crypto Stocks Trading Hours
- Futures Trading Hours
- Options Trading Hours
- Stock Trading During Weekends
- Tips For Successful Weekend Trading
- Pre-Market and After-Hours Trading on Stock Markets
- Risks for Pre-Market and After-Hours Trading
- Off-Hour Trading: Pros & Cons
- End-of-day Trading
- When are the Best Hours to Trade on the Stock Market
- Frequently Asked Questions
Stock Market Trading Hours
- The US stock market has been trading higher on points on average for the past ten years, reaching an all-time high of 36952.65 in January 2022. It is expected to trade at 29183.53 in 2024 as seen in the chart above.
- Most stock exchanges in the US operate from 8.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. EST on weekdays. Most of them will allow you to trade during pre-market hours from 4 a.m. and after-hours markets starting at 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. EST or until the stock market opens the following day.
- For weekend trading, you might work with brokers that allow access to stock markets on Middle Eastern stock exchanges such as the Dubai Financial Market. Markets trade stocks between Saturday and Wednesday/Thursday. This happens on exchanges that follow the Islamic calendar, which considers Friday as the first day of the week. The Tel Aviv stock exchange also trades different assets on weekends. Tadawul Index in Saudi Arabia is also available for trading on weekends.
In 2024, the expected trading value of the US stock market is 29183.53.
- The best times to trade stocks during the day are 9.30 a.m. to 10.30 a.m. after opening, with most professional traders stopping to trade at around 11:30 a.m. However, most markets remain very active in the first few hours after opening and before closing. Volatility and volumes are highest at this time.
- Pre-market hours are great for futures traders and index ETFs. The best times are between 8.30 a.m. and 10.30 a.m. End-of-day traders also take advantage of high volumes and volatility at the end of the trading day, as many people rush to close trades. After-hours are usually slow.
- Traders can take advantage of time zone differences in different countries to trade during weekends.
- The best day to buy stocks in the United States is Monday due to the Monday effect. Friday is the best to sell stocks for weekly traders. Weekends are usually slow. Mid-months are also great for buyers, while end-months are near perfect for sellers.
- The end of December may be the best time to buy small-cap stocks as many investors rush to sell to claim capital losses. The best months are September and October when markets are recording huge drops and depressions. Investors are also wrapping up their third-quarter positions.
United States Stock Market Operating Hours
The NASDAQ and the NYSE, which are the largest stock markets in the country, trade between 9.30 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. EST. Most US stock markets start with high liquidity when they open, and although they do not close for lunch, trading reduces in the middle of the day. The end of the trading session also recorded lower liquidity.
The US stock market trading takes just 6 hours and 30 minutes, which means the duration is shorter than for Asia and Middle East markets. It has the advantage of lesser volatility since most news occurs when the market closes and people will digest them before they resume trading the next day.
- NYSE and NASDAQ lose for nine federal holidays. These include New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President’s Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas.
- NYSE supports after-hours trading from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and pre-market trading from 7 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. EST. NASDAQ supports after-hours trading from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. EST and pre-market trading from 4 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. After-hours and pre-market trading provides great flexibility for traders. This is in addition to traders allowing acting on new information from events and news that happens after regular trading hours. Besides higher volatility, after-hours and pre-markets may also face missed executions, lesser trading order types, and less liquidity, along with extra charges that could reduce profitability.
- ECNs record lower volumes than actual exchanges and this means some orders may not go through. Besides, they do not take advanced orders beyond the limit orders. ECN works by matching sellers’ orders with buyers’ orders.
Further Reading => List of the TOP Day Trading Platforms You Must Try
Trading US Stocks During Regular Market Hours: General Tips
#1) Success in trading stocks requires creating a diversified portfolio, preparations for downturns by planning way, and of course, acquiring extensive skills in stock markets and trading.
#2) It is recommended to invest not more than 10% of your portfolio in stocks. You can diversify investment in other assets and investments as well.
#3) To trade news effectively, comprehend market expectations and reactions, which can be more crucial than the news itself. Treat each news release independently and create trading tactics for specific news releases. News trading strategies are common in volatile markets.
In stock trading, like any other asset class, trading on the news before an official announcement is much better than after.
#4) Understand all trading strategies. Be armed with knowledge of swing trading, which is a strategy that takes advantage of price sideways (rise and fall) movement, day trading which relies on trading stocks during the day without leaving orders open overnight, trend trading strategy which leverages technical analysis to define trends, news trading, and end-of-day trading.
#5) There are many other trading strategies derived from some categories above, and you can boost success in trading if you know them.
They include range trading (within lines of supports and resistances), breakout (that takes advantage of the change in market sentiment), reversal (takes advantage of turning points in market sentiments), and gap (leverages on price gaps from a previous day and opportunities between the gaps and the opening range of trading range for the next day).
There are also pairs (takes advantage of valuation relationship for correlated pair of instruments), arbitrage (takes advantage of an asset market price differences at different markets), and momentum (leverages high price movements).
Commodities Trading Hours in the United States
Example of commodities trading market.
Oil, gold, wheat, and other commodities trade electronically from 6 p.m. Sunday to 5 p.m. Friday on CME Group exchanges and 8 p.m. Sunday to 6 p.m. Friday.
Most exchanges allow users to trade commodities for 24 hours and 5 days a week. There are no global trading sessions to monitor. Trading hours are dividends according to the type of asset and exchange.
|Name of market||Spot trading hours (EST)||Commodity futures trading hours (EST)|
|US Crude (WTI)||Sunday, 4 a.m. to Friday, 8.15 p.m. (break 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.)||Sunday, 10 p.m. to Friday, 9 p.m. (break 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.).|
|UK Crude (Brent)||Sunday, 1 a.m. to Friday, 11 p.m.||24 hours.|
|Heating Oil||N/A||Sunday, 10 p.m. to Friday, 9 p.m.|
|Gold (XAU/USD)||Sunday, 10.01 p.m. to Friday, 9 p.m. (break 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.).|
|Silver (XAG/USD)||Sunday, 10.01 p.m. to Friday, 9 p.m. (break 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.).|
|Corn||N/A||Sunday, 12 a.m. or midnight to Friday, 6.15 p.m. (break 12.45 p.m. to 1.30 p.m. and 6.20 p.m. to 12 a.m.).|
|London Wheat||N/A||Sunday, 9.25 a.m. to Friday, 5.28 p.m.|
Activity varies from time to time. The most active hours for almost all commodities markets are usually half-hours after opening and before closure. Liquidity increases due to the rush to open and close orders. The best time to trade commodities also varies from one market to another.
WTI Crude oil usually exhibits high trading volumes between 9 a.m. and 2.30 a.m. EST. Trading volumes in agricultural futures, including corn, wheat, and soybeans, were impacted by the release of the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report.
The rush of orders causes greater volatility in gold Wall Street markets when they open (1.30 GMT) and when London sessions open (8 a.m. GMT)
International Stocks Trading Hours
This table displays the opening hours of major stock markets around the world:
The London and Euronext stock market trades for 8 hours and 28 minutes. This is the longest trading time per day compared to other stock markets. This makes the market more volatile because traders will have more time to change their market positions with news and more news happens during these long hours.
Asian stock markets trade for between 4 and 6 hours during the day. They break for one hour for lunch. The short trading duration reduces volatility and liquidity is also lesser. Like in any other market, most volume is traded at the opening hours, reduced as the day goes by, and traded more is traded at the closing hours.
Brazil’s stock exchange has longer market hours than most markets, i.e. 7 hours 55 minutes, which results in higher volatility due to traders having more time to adjust their trading positions throughout the day as news unfolds..
Can You Trade on Stock Exchanges During Holidays
- Toronto stock exchange closes for 10 holidays per year. These stock markets and bank holidays include New Year’s Day, Family Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Civic Holiday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, and Boxing Day. Hours are modified on Christmas Eve.
- Euronext closes for six holidays per year: New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Labor Day, Christmas, and Boxing Day. Hours are also modified for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
- The Six Swiss Exchange also closes for 12 holidays per year. These include New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Ascension Day, White Monday, Christmas Eve, Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Eve.
- The London stock exchange closes during 8 holidays per year: New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, an early May Bank holiday, a spring bank holiday, a summer bank holiday, and Christmas and Boxing Day holidays. It modifies trading hours on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
- Tokyo stock exchange closes for 22 holidays during the year. These include Labor Thanksgiving Day, December 31, Autumnal Equinox, Sports Day, Respect for the Aged Day, Mountain Day, Marine Day, Vernal Equinox, Showa Day, Constitutional Memorial Day, Emperor’s Birthday, National Foundation Day, and Coming of Age Day.
- Shanghai stock exchange closes for 15 holidays per year: New Year’s Day, 5 days for the February Springs Festival, Labor Day, two days for the mid-Autumn Festival, National Days for four days in October, Qingming Festival, and Dragon Boat Festival,
- The Hong Kong stock exchange closes for 17 holidays per year: These include New Year’s Day, Lunar Year which runs for 3 days, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Qingming Festival, National Days for 3 days, Christmas for two days, Labor Day, New Year’s Day, Dragon Boat Festival, and Special Administration Region Establishment Day.
- The Bombay stock exchange in India closes for 14 holidays per year. These include Diwali, GuruNanak Jayanti, Mahatma Gandhi, Muharram, Christmas, Ganesh Chaturthi, Independence Day, Bakri Id, Id-Ul-Fitr, Ram Navami, Republic Day,
Cryptocurrency and Crypto Stocks Trading Hours
- Cryptocurrencies are best traded when there is the availability of counter-parties with which to trade and liquidity on an exchange.
- The best time tested to trade cryptocurrency is between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is the most volatile session for cryptos even in the US markets and there is a huge opportunity to make money from trading.
- Mondays tend to return the biggest for traders, followed by Fridays and Saturdays. Busiest trading occurs around 18.00 CET. The best times to buy start on Thursdays, especially in the mornings and at the end of the month. Cryptos mostly record increases in prices at the start of the month.
- Markets are less active on weekends. There are lesser trading volumes, hence large orders can impact markets more. The lack of funds due to the closure of banks during weekends impacts markets.
- For short-cycle traders during the day, volatility and volumes also vary with time. These also vary with the coins in question. The best time to trade cryptocurrencies for most markets is during the mornings for those markets.
Futures Trading Hours
Although US futures trade from Monday to Friday, there is a break in E-mini futures trading between 4.15 p.m. and 4.30 p.m. EST each day. Futures trade for nearly 24 hours and 6 days a week from 6 p.m. EST Sunday to Friday 5 p.m.
Micro E-mini and E-mini futures can be traded pre-market and after-hours sessions just like stocks.
|Futures market category||Hours open|
|US Stock indexes||Sunday to Friday, 6 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST. Break 4.15 to 4.30 p.m. daily.|
|Currencies||Sunday to Friday 6 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST.|
|Grains||Sunday to Friday, 8 p.m. to 8.45 p.m., and Monday to Friday, 9.30 a.m. to 2.20 p.m. EST.|
|Meats||Monday to Friday, 9.30 a.m. to 2.05 p.m. EST.|
Trading hours are determined by the categories of futures and exchanges, such as stocks and metals futures.
Futures have lower minimum investment requirements for day trading than stock trading. They can be traded with leverage. Besides, they have higher liquidity.
Options Trading Hours
- Most options are traded in US stock exchanges between 9.30 a.m. and 4 p.m. EST, the same as regular stock trading hours.
- Trading options, like stocks and futures, on weekends, is a growing trend.
Stock Trading During Weekends
Let’s see how does stock trading happen during the weekends:
#1) Most professional traders do not trade on weekends because they understand that most markets are closed. They may also avoid trading due to low liquidity. However, markets are slow and this provides ample time for traders to analyze trades and test strategies.
#2) Stock trading happens over the weekend through pre-market and after-hours trading using electronic communication networks.
#3) Buyers and sellers leverage time differences between countries to trade stocks on weekends.
#4) The Middle Eastern stock exchanges trade stocks between Saturday and Wednesday. This happens on exchanges that follow the Islamic calendar, which considers Friday as the first day of the week.
Dubai Financial Markets is an example of this. It operates from Sunday to Thursday, allowing people to invest and trade during weekends. You can trade the Dubai Financial Market through stock market brokers such as IB, which can access stocks worldwide.
#5) Traders located in the US can still shift to trade on other international stock markets located in different geographical locations after Friday and still trade during the weekend on their timeline.
Investors can use the worldtimezone.com/markets12.php website to find out the status of open markets all over the world. Some countries are more than 12 hours behind.
#6) The Tel-Aviv stock exchange is also a great option for those who want to trade on weekends. It operates every day except for select holidays. It allows users to trade convertible securities, corporate and government bonds, and short-term certificates.
#7) The Tadawul Index in Saudi Arabia is also available for stock traders who want to trade over the weekend. It is closed for a select number of holidays.
Tips For Successful Weekend Trading
- Use the Gap trading strategy: The strategy seeks profitable trade opportunities from price movements between Friday’s market close and re-opening on Sunday.
- Over the weekend, more stable Bollinger bands can make it possible to accurately predict trade outcomes for some stocks, which are hard to predict within weekdays because the Bollinger bands are unstable because of high market activity.
- Traders need to be aware of when exactly the weekends begin and where the stock markets are open during weekends. This helps them to know when exactly to change strategies.
- You can capitalize on the weekend to horn your stock trading skills through courses, webinars, and demo trading instead of live trading.
- It is advisable to work with a broker who fully supports weekend trading if willing to trade on weekends. You could also try to switch platforms and own stocks on different markets in different time zones to take advantage of this.
Pre-Market and After-Hours Trading on Stock Markets
It is also known as extended trading hours
#1) Pre-market and after-hours happen online using electronic technology (Electronic communications networks). Pre-markets can start as early as 4 a.m., although it typically happens between 8 a.m. and 9.30 a.m. After-hours start at 4 p.m. and can extend to 8 p.m. ET.
#2) Pre-market and after-hours trading is exposed to illiquidity, price volatility, and low-volume risks. Larger quote spreads or bid-ask spreads result from less trading activity. These spreads can make order execution difficult.
#3) Pre-market trading happens when the user or customer logs into their account, identifies trade opportunities, and places trades. They can also place trades through their brokers. These orders are mainly limited orders. Brokers can have their specified pre-market trading criteria, for instance, allowing you to place limited orders and execute them at specific times.
#4) After-hours trading also involves the placement of limited orders. Again, brokers may specify criteria that traders must follow when placing and executing these orders.
#5) To trade during pre-market and after-hours, identify brokers that support it. The brokers include TD Ameritrade, eTrade, Fidelity, Robinhood, WeBull, and Charles Schwab, among others.
#6) Brokerage accounts will have trading data in pre-market and after-hours trading. With this data, a trader can see current bids and ask prices for securities or stocks. They can then compare the changes to the previous period’s close.
#7) You can also get pre-market and after-hours trading data from different websites including NASDAQ, which provides data on stock prices, time of trading, size of trades made during those hours, etc. NYSE website also showed trade movements during the last hours of the trading day, although it did not provide a detailed quoting service.
Yahoo Finance service also covers the last trades made in the pre-market and after-hours for all stocks, regardless of where they were carried out. You can rely on these websites even if you do not have a brokerage account.
Suggested Read =>> Top Forex Brokers of the biggest financial markets
Risks for Pre-Market and After-Hours Trading
- Low liquidity despite pre-market allowing an early jump on reactions to news and events. Institutional investors may choose not to participate regardless of news and events happening to affect the market.
- Low volume is witnessed during pre-market and after-hours trading sessions.
- Possible slippage from vast bid-ask spreads.
- This can only be done using limited orders
- More volatility. Since institutional investors may choose to stay away, prices can fall sharply during after-hours and rise when trading reopens the next day.
- If big institutions are taking part in pre-market and after-hours, they may be professional traders and this may mean huge competition if you are a small trader or starter. This is because the institutions have an advantage over individual traders concerning accessing market information.
- Trade execution delays may also arise because of technical hitches, as there is less technical support available from the exchange during these hours.
- You should also consider whether the trading exchange of your choice allows you to see quotes from other electronic communications networks in addition to those from its own. Some do not.
Off-Hour Trading: Pros & Cons
Pros of pre-market and off-hours trading
- Convenient for working professionals or busy people.
- Possibility to trade on news and events happening and affecting stock prices after the market closes.
- Enables traders to move ahead of the market more than other regular/ordinary hour traders.
Cons of pre-market and off-hours trading
- Low liquidity
- Higher volatility
- Limited quotes
- Limited orders only
End-of-day trading knowledge helps one to take advantage of the power hour. It can extend to and into after-hours trading. Many traders want to close positions before the trading hours end, but opportunistic traders sometimes, depending on the market they are in, decide to extend their positions for a few minutes or overnight.
They understand that the high volume trading at the power hour creates a lot of profit opportunities. Non-professional traders who are busy during the rest of the trading hours also take advantage of the power hour.
- One advantage of trading during power hour is that of the profit opportunities created by the high volumes, the second is that power hour traders have a host of market data created during the rest of the day and can increase winning chances by relying on the data, third is because traders can increase winning chances by focusing on trading for a few hours. Spending more time on trading is usually not accompanied by high profits.
- Researching, analyzing, and placing trades during power hours follows the same trend make sure to create a trading methodology for when to trade, and the entry and exit level. You can also employ charts and market insights to leverage daytime trading data.
- Another strategy is to buy stocks during this time and sell when the market reopens the following day. These open orders take advantage of the times when there is less market activity and when the market reopens the next day.
When are the Best Hours to Trade on the Stock Market
Successful trading of stocks on stock markets requires knowledge of the trading opening, closing, peak, and low times. Many factors influence the trading of stocks during different times of the day and night for each location.
While most trading across major exchanges takes place for between 5 to 7 hours, London stock market hours are some of the longest, taking place for 8 hours and 28 minutes from 8 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. with a two-minute break from 12.00 p.m. Most other markets in Asia and the Middle East close for an hour for lunch.
Long hours of trading may translate to higher market volatility, as people tend to change their trade positions more regularly with the news.
Here are tips on what best hours to trade stocks on exchanges:
- The best time to trade stocks is around major market-moving news and events. Events and news vary in their effects on stocks and from one country to another. Various events to watch include political and regulatory/policy changes and announcements, company earnings, and macroeconomic indicators.
- Having an understanding of all the factors that affect the price of your target stock increases winning chances.
- Power hour: Most stock markets will have power hour at the closing hours when more shares will trade. A lot of traders tend to trade during power hour as market participants adjust their positions before the market closes. The power hour varies from one market and stock to another but is ideally between 7 pm and 8 pm UTC when the US stock market is closing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q #1) What is the best time to sell stocks during the day?
Answer: The best time of the day to sell stocks is from 9.30 to 11 a.m. EST when the market is a few hours from opening and is highly active. The best time to sell stocks is within the first two hours of the market opening.
Q #2) What is the 3-day rule in stocks?
Answer: The 3-day rule in stock trading states that investors should wait 3 days following a substantial high-digit or percentage drop in stock price before buying the stock. This rule considers the fact that prices can drop further following margin calls that result from the drops during these three days.
Besides, large-volume traders who want to dispose of stocks do it bit by bit after the drops. Plus, the price impact is not instantaneous, especially in options trading, where it takes some time for order flow to impact markets.
Q #3) What time does after-hours stock trading close?
Answer: After-hours usually start from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. EST on most markets in the United States. They, however, can extend to the following day when the market re-opens or to coincide with the pre-market hours.
Q #4) When does the stock market open and close?
Answer: Most stock markets in the United States open trading from 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. EST. Opening and closing times vary from one exchange to another. NYSE and NASDAQ are the largest stock markets in the United States and they open from 9.30 a.m. to 4 p.m. They can still open as early as 4 a.m. for pre-market trading or trade on a 24-hour basis for those using electronic trading.
For those asking when what time does the stock market will close, most will close at 5.30 p.m. normal hours but will extend into night hours to 8 p.m. or until the following day’s opening time for after-hours trading.
Q #5) What is the best time of the day to buy stocks?
Answer: The best time to buy stocks is considered to be between 8.30 a.m. and 11 a.m. EST when most stock exchanges open in the United States. Opening times vary from one exchange to another.
In the US, the optimal time to buy stocks varies per stock, however, most stocks are best traded a few hours after the market opens due to high volumes and liquidity.
This tutorial looked at stock trading times in the United States and other markets in other locations around the world. Most stock markets open between 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. local time. However, trading times extend up to 10 p.m. during after-hours or until the following day. Markets also start early, starting at 4 a.m. during pre-market hours.
The best time and duration to trade stocks is up to two or three hours after opening. Volumes and liquidity dropped during the middle of the day and shoot again two hours before closure when it became viable to best trade stocks again.
Based on research, the best day to buy stocks are Mondays as is mid-month and from December to January. The best day to sell is Friday as it is the end month, and the period runs from September to October.
- Time taken for research: 30 hours