When does the stock market open?

If you’re actively buying and selling stocks (or interested in getting started), it’s important to know when the stock market is open for business. Generally, when you place an order to buy or sell during  normal trading hours, your trade can be executed in a matter of moments. Trade when the market’s closed, and your order will likely go through at the start of the next trading day.

Here’s a look at when the stock market opens and closes to help you strategize about your transactions.

Standard opening hours

When people refer to the stock market, they’re most often talking about the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Nasdaq stock market—the two largest stock exchanges in the world by market capitalization. (Note the Nasdaq also produces an index of the same name for tech stocks.)

For both the NYSE and the Nasdaq, regular trading hours are Monday through Friday, 9:30 am to 4:00 pm EST.

Both markets are based in New York City, but only the NYSE has a physical trading floor. All Nasdaq trading takes place online.

Since 1903, the NYSE has signaled its opening each business day with the ringing of the opening bell, which rings for 10 seconds. Ringing the opening bell is an important tradition on the trading floor, and special guests are often invited to do the honors. The NYSE allows representatives from companies listed on the exchange to ring the bell, particularly in celebration of an initial public offering (IPO) or some other company announcement. Famous people and popular characters, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Spiderman, Desmond Tutu, Miss Piggy, and the Harlem Globetrotters, have also taken turns ringing the bell over the years.

Trading halts

Markets sometimes temporarily suspend trading due to particularly extreme drops in stock prices, known as market-wide circuit breakers (MWCBs). The breakers will “trip,” and trading halts for 15 minutes if the S&P 500 falls by more than 7 percent (known as Level 1) or 13 percent (Level 2) from the prior day’s closing before 3:25 pm. A fall of more than 20 percent at any time of day from the prior day’s closing triggers a Level 3 MWCB and trading halts for the rest of the day.

Markets have occasionally closed in response to specific disasters in the past. For example, the market closed for two straight days after Superstorm Sandy hit New York in 2012. The markets also closed from September 11th, 2001 until September 17th, to prevent panic selling in response to the terrorist attacks on the U.S. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the NYSE’s physical trading floor closed for a period of time to protect public health, though electronic trading remained active.

Holiday closings

The market closes or sometimes shortens its hours for federal and other holidays. These holidays include:

·  New Years Day

·  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

·  Presidents’ Day

·  Good Friday

·  Memorial Day

·  Independence Day

·  Labor Day

·  Thanksgiving Day

·  Christmas Day

Additionally, the markets close at 1:00 pm on Christmas Eve and on the day following Thanksgiving. When a holiday falls on a Saturday, the market closes the Friday before in observation. If a holiday falls on a Sunday, the market closes the following Monday.

After hours trading

Trading is allowed outside of opening hours, but that doesn’t mean you can trade 24/7. Using electronic communications networks (ECNs), investors can make trades outside of opening hours. Early trading is permitted from 6:30 am to 9:30 am each day that the market is open. After closing, trading continues from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Investors may want to trade outside of opening hours based on breaking news about a certain company or relevant world events. However, far fewer investors trade during these times. It’s considered riskier, so it’s generally only recommended for experienced investors.

Stash’s trading windows

If you invest with Stash, your trades will be placed during separate trading windows: two in the morning and two in the afternoon. Stash trading windows operate during normal market hours.^ You can start investing with any dollar amount on Stash.

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