Stock Around the Clock: Early, Late, and 24-Hour Trading
Are you a night owl, insomniac, non-conformist, or someone who just likes to trade at odd hours for the fun of it? If so, you have a lot of choices. Most the major exchanges around the world offer after-hours and premarket trading sessions. Additionally, if you’re willing to trade Treasury’s, foreign currencies, commodities, and stock indices can be bought and sold around the clock, five days per week. Here’s a look at the various kinds of off-hours action you can take part in.
Forex 24-Hour Trading
Many get interested in forex because markets are open 24-hours Monday through Friday. If you have a night job and sleep during the day, it might make sense to do a bit of foreign currency dealing at odd hours. Feel like speculating on the relative price of dollars and yen at midnight? Open your account platform and make a purchase. Forex never sleeps during the business week. But, wait, there’s more. In addition to forex, you can do round-the-clock, Monday through Friday deals with U.S. Treasury’s, commodities, and stock index futures. So, you’re in luck if gold, wheat, oil, or Dow futures are your specialty. The same goes for Treasury notes, bills, and bonds. Trade away, any time of day.
Premarket and After-Hours Sessions
For several hours before exchanges open, and a few hours after they close, traders can buy and sell most of the listed securities on a given index. There are some limits on activity, though. Namely, not all securities are available for premarket and after-hours action. Plus, buy/sell spreads tend to be higher. That means you need to earn bigger profits on each trade in order to recoup the spread, which serves as a built-in commission on every transaction. Finally, off-hours activity is known for low liquidity, so you might not be able to find as many buyers or sellers to complete your deals. All in all, once people get used to the quirks of premarket and after-hours trading, they appreciate having a chance to do their business outside of conventional time slots.
For anyone who just has a few minutes of free time each day, it might make sense to become a gapper. Not to be confused with 1920s Flappers, those freely energetic young people who went against the social grain, gappers do one thing and one thing only. They watch opening bell price action and try to catch the upward or downward pricing gaps that take place usually during the first half-hour of the session. It’s a risky business, and can mean very large gains or losses in a short time span.
Overseas Exchanges for All-Night Executions
If your brokerage platform allows trading on some of the major international exchanges, like the Frankfurt, Australian, or Tokyo floors, you can literally do business all night long except on weekends. Note that you won’t be able to buy or sell anything but the listings on a particular exchange, which might or might not include your favorite securities. But for people who want all-night action, going international is one way to get it.
JR Dominguez is the technology, finance and music editor for MiLLENNiAL. When he's not writing, you can find him day-trading stocks, playing video games, or composing commercial scores.