When does the stock market open and close? Can you trade on the weekend and is it a good idea?
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If you already know a little bit about trading and investing, you probably know that some traders have unusual working hours. Some are up as early as 4 a.m. to start trading stocks. Yet, surprisingly, the financial markets do sleep. But some traders do trade directly while the stock exchange is closed.
This article will tell you the basics of trading hours for the major stock exchanges in the US. Read on to find out everything you need to know.
Stock Market Trading Hours
NYSE and Nasdaq
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
is the largest stock exchange in the world and the oldest existing exchange in the US. It was officially established in 1817 as the New York Stock and Exchange Board, although it dates back to 1792 when 24 stockbrokers met under the buttonwood tree on what came to be known as Wall Street in Manhattan, New York. Its main trading floor is on Wall St, but the majority of trades go through its primary datacenter in Mahwah, New Jersey.
Nasdaq Stock Market
is the other major US stock exchange that began operating in 1971 as the world’s first electronic stock market. Many tech giants, such as Facebook, Apple and Amazon are listed here. It also became the first US stock market to start trading online in 1998. That’s why the Nasdaq index famously peaked during the dot-com bubble, only to fall back to around the same level after the bubble burst.
Nasdaq also has offices in Manhattan, a few miles away from Wall Street, but there’s no trading floor as it’s fully electronic.
When people say the stock market, they are usually referring to NYSE and Nasdaq. Their trading hours are the same as Nasdaq follows the NYSE schedule.
Stock market times:
The stock market is closed on some but not all federal holidays. On some of them it works as normal or closes early.
Here is a list of holiday trading hours for 2021:
Other financial markets operate on a different schedule. For example, futures contracts begin trading at 6 p.m. on Sundays. This includes equity futures, oil, commodities and agricultural products.
The holiday schedule for bond markets is independent from the stock market—they open on some days when the stock markets are closed and close at 2 p.m. on some holidays when the stock markets are open.
Pre-market and after hours trading
Some trading happens outside of regular trading hours. Before the market opens at 9:30 a.m. traders can create buy and sell orders from 6:30 a.m., and sometimes as early as 4 a.m. This is known as pre-market trading.
After-hours sessions happen after stock market close time and usually run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Investors trade in the after-hours because they can benefit from the ‘unofficial’ prices while the market is asleep.
Companies tend to release key news in the after-hours, such as the departure of a key company member. This lets investors trade in anticipation of the ‘official’ price changes when the stock market reopens.
Trading outside of normal hours is done through Electronic Communication Networks (ECNs), such as Archipelago, Instinet, SelectNet and NYSE Arca. These systems pair up buyers and sellers directly.
After-hours trading has its limitations. There is less trading happening so prices can be more influenced by single sales and more volatile. It may be hard to match asking prices and bids, making some transactions difficult to complete.
As the official price is frozen in time until the markets reopen, the after-hours prices do not reflect the actual price upon reopening, and it’s possible that you won’t be able to get the best price in the after hours.
The pros and cons of after market trading
✅ Can be a good way to capitalize on important news released while the markets are closed
❌ Less trades happening—stocks are not as liquid
❌ May be hard to get a good price or complete a transaction
Is the Stock Market Open on Weekends?
If you’re just starting out, you already have enough things to do between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m on weekdays, right? So maybe you can trade on weekends instead?
Although the major stock exchanges are closed on Saturdays and Sundays, it’s still possible to trade. As with pre-market and after-hour trading, this is done through ECNs.
💡 Interesting fact: The New York Stock Exchange used to open for a short day of trading on Saturdays, but this was discontinued in 1952.
If you look at the stock graphs, they look continuous but they don’t account for non-trading hours. The stock prices at 9:30 a.m. on Monday directly follow the price at 4 p.m. the previous Friday. There isn’t always a significant jump in price, but when there is, this is usually due to trades that happened while the markets were closed.
The pros and cons of trading on the weekend are the same as trading in the after-hours. Stocks are not as liquid (i.e. less trades happening), and the spread between the bid and ask prices can be wider.
What time does the stock market open in New York?
The stock market opens every weekday at 9:30 except for holidays. The US stock market revolves around New York time (ET), because the major stock exchanges—NYSE and Nasdaq are based there.
What time does the stock market close?
The stock market officially closes at 4 p.m., but some trading does happen in after-hours sessions through electronic communication networks (ECNs).
Is the stock market closed on weekends?
The stock market officially closes for the weekend at 4 p.m on Friday. But some trading may happen throughout the weekend, especially if an important piece of news is released on Friday night.
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