Navigating the Stock Market Trading Hours
–Congratulations, you’ve decided to take the leap and start building a profit on your current finances with a little trading activity. Maybe you’re ready to jump in with Forex and the financial markets, or you’re looking at things like business shares and securities. One of the first things you’ll need to do before you can begin making money, is learn how everything works. For instance, you might not know this, but the stock markets aren’t always open for business. Indeed, knowing how to time your positions and when you buy, or sell can be an important part of all kinds of trading. Plus, it’s always a good idea to be aware of the US stock market holidays and when you’re not going to be able to spend money (or make it). Here are some essentials to get you started.
When Do the Markets Open and Close?
Figuring out when you can begin spending money and making it in the stock markets isn’t always as simple as it seems. For instance, the standard US markets, including the Nasdaq exchange and NYSE are usually between 9:30am and 4:00pm on weekdays (that’s Eastern time). However, this isn’t the case with holidays when the markets close. On days with an early closure, typically right before or after a holiday, regular activity will halt at 1 pm ET instead.
That might seem like a simple enough structure to follow, but the schedule sometimes varies depending on the kind of broker system you use. You can buy and sell assets outside of the normal hours respected by the exchanges, by using either after-hours or pre-market sessions. On days where there are pre-market sales available, your broker might allow you to start trading as early as 4am in the morning. There are also after-hours opportunities that can extend from around 4pm to 8pm ET.
Why is the Schedule So Flexible?
So why is it that the markets are so flexible when it comes to selling and buying schedules? Well, it all comes down to the fact that everything is mostly digital these days. Electronic Exchange networks allow brokers to pair sellers and buyers around the world without the need for a physical middle man. This means that it’s much easier for all kinds of people who want to make money trading in the stock market to start looking at opportunities outside of the traditional business hours for the exchanges.
One thing worth noting is that even if you do have a broker that offers pre-market and after-hours opportunities, you won’t be able to spend your entire weekend spending money in some cases. There are no regular hours available for Sundays and Saturdays. However, you might notice that when you’re reading the papers and doing your market research on Sundays, you see announcements that futures are down, or struggling. If this happens, it could be because most contracts for stock futures, including equity, oil, and commodities, will begin trading at an earlier time than most securities, at around 6pm ET on a Sunday evening.