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Mar 28, 2022

When Does the Stock Market Open and Close? Not Knowing Can Cost You

By Stash Team
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When does the stock market open?

If you’re buying and selling stocks, or are interested in getting started with investing, it’s important to understand when markets open and close, because trading after hours comes with extra risks and potentially higher share prices. Whether it’s the clang of the bell at 4:00 p.m., stock market holiday closings, or a trading halt, it helps to know when the stock market is open.

What are stock markets?

When people refer to “the stock market” in the U.S., they’re most often talking about the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Nasdaq stock markets, although there are numerous stock markets and exchanges all over the world. 

A stock market can be a physical place where stocks are traded, an electronic trading forum, or a combination of the two. The Nasdaq is a purely electronic trading forum, while the NYSE is a physical trading floor that facilitates electronic trading. Both markets are based in New York City.
Note: The Nasdaq also produces an index of the same name for tech stocks. You can learn more about the difference between stock indexes and stock exchanges here.

When does the stock market open and close?

Regular trading hours for the NYSE and the Nasdaq markets are Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST). Both observe a variety of holidays and, under certain circumstances, may halt trading at times.

You may have heard of “ringing the opening bell” at the stock exchange. Since 1903, the NYSE has signaled its opening each business day with the ringing of the opening bell, which sounds for 10 seconds. It’s 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 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 decreases in stock prices. The technical term for these severe market declines is market-wide circuit breakers (MWCB). If the S&P 500 index falls more than a certain amount below the previous day’s closing price, a “breaker” trips and trading stops for a period of time:

  • Trading halts for at least 15 minutes if the S&P 500 falls by more than 7% (known as Level 1) or 13% (Level 2) from the prior day’s closing before 3:25 p.m.
  • Trading halts for the rest of the day if the S&P 500 falls by more than 20% (Level 3) at any time of day.

Markets occasionally close in response to disasters as well, including the following examples:

  • 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.
  • The markets closed for two days after 2012 Superstorm Sandy hit New York.
  • Markets shut down from September 11 to 17 in 2001 to prevent panic selling in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. 

Stock market holiday closings

The market closes or shortens its hours for federal holidays and a few other holidays. Stock market holiday closings include:

  • New Years Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Presidents’ Day
  • Good Friday
  • Memorial Day
  • Juneteeth National Independence Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day 

The markets also close early, at 1:00 p.m. EST, the day after Thanksgiving and on Christmas Eve. When a holiday falls on a Saturday, it is observed on the Friday prior; when a holiday falls on a Sunday, the market closes the following Monday.

How to trade after-hours and whether you should

Trading is allowed outside of open hours, but that doesn’t mean you can trade 24/7. By using electronic communications networks (ECNs), investors can extend their trading hours. Early trading is permitted from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. each day that the market is open. After closing, trading continues from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Investors might 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. 
While all investing involves risk, after-hours trading is considered riskier than trading while the market is open due to the potential for greater price volatility, and it’s generally only recommended for experienced investors. Thus, the logistics of how to trade after hours may be less important than fully understanding the risks.

When does Stash place trades?

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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