Many investors buy and sell securities through the stock market, which includes stock exchanges all over the world. So the question “When does the stock market open?” is one with many answers, since stock market hours vary depending on the country. Most are open on regular business days, Monday through Friday, and during regular business hours in local time.
Outside of these regular trading hours, many stock exchanges also let investors buy and sell in extended sessions known as pre-market and after-hours trade. The advantage is that investors can more quickly trade on early- or late-breaking news that happens outside of business hours, but there is additional risk in that the pool of traders is much smaller and can create significant volatility in pricing.
Stock market hours
In North America:
- The two biggest stock exchanges in the United States, the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq, are open for regular trading from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm Eastern time, or 6:30 am to 1:00 pm Pacific time.
- Further north, at Canada’s busiest exchange, the Toronto Stock Exchange trades during the same hours.
Outside of North America, some countries close their exchanges for a very brief or a longer midday break.
- The London Stock Exchange opens for trade at 8:00 am, and at 12:00 pm closes for a two-minute “lunch break,” before resuming trade from 12:02 pm to 4:30 pm local time.
Several of the Asian exchanges close for 60 to 90 minutes for lunch.
- China’s Shanghai Stock Exchange is open for trade from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm, with a midday break from 11:30 am to 1 pm.
- China’s Shenzhen Stock Exchange follows almost the same schedule but closes for the day three minutes earlier at 2:57 pm.
- The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is open for regular trade from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm local time with an hour-long break at noon.
- Japan’s Tokyo Stock Exchange trades from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm with a lunch hour at 11:30 am.
- In India, the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in the city now called Mumbai trades from 9:15 am to 3:30 pm with no midday break.
The Saudi Exchange is an outlier since it treats the business week as Sunday to Thursday, trading on those days from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm local time.
Bank holidays and other stock market closures
Global stock markets are open nearly all business days, but each country’s exchanges do close a few times a year in recognition of federal holidays. These closures may be for the whole or part of a day, and they may be the “observed” date if the actual holiday falls on a weekend.
Rarely, markets may also close unexpectedly for extraordinary events—like the NYSE did after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the U.S., or the Moscow exchange’s closure after global sanctions when its invasion of Ukraine in 2022 rattled financial markets—or for days of mourning the death of an important figure.
The New York Stock Exchange is closed on these days:
- In January for New Year’s Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- In February on Washington’s Birthday
- In April for Good Friday (before Easter Sunday)
- In May on Memorial Day
- In June on Juneteenth National Independence Day
- In July on Independence Day. The NYSE also closes early, at 1:00 pm, the day before Independence Day is observed
- In September on Labor Day
- In November on Thanksgiving Day. The NYSE also closes early, at 1:00 pm, the day after Thanksgiving
- In December on Christmas Day. The NYSE also closes early, at 1:00 pm, the day before Christmas
Each country has its own schedule of federal holidays, of course. For example, Chinese exchanges close for a week to celebrate Lunar New Year, and Japan’s exchange goes dark for the vernal and autumnal equinoxes.
In the United Kingdom the list of closures also includes a few “bank holidays,” dates when banking institutions and most other workplaces are closed — including the London Stock Exchange. Those are called Early May Bank Holiday, Spring Bank Holiday, Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday (special for 2022 to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years of service), and Summer Bank Holiday.
Pre-market and after-hours trading
Outside of the core trading session, most exchanges also offer two periods of extended hours: “before the bell” and “after the bell” when investors can trade most stocks. So the day is divided into three parts: pre-market trading, regular trade, and after-hours.
The pre-market session happens before the market opens for the day. In the U.S., for example, pre-market trade starts as early as 4:00 am Eastern until the 9:30 am opening bell. And after the core session ends at 4:00 pm, after-hours trade continues until 8:00 pm.
These extended sessions were once largely the purview of well-connected institutional investors. But they’ve become more accessible to individual investors thanks to the emergence of electronic communications networks (ECNs) that can connect buyers and sellers directly to each other without needing an intermediary.
The major benefit of trading outside regular hours is that investors get a chance to trade on news that comes before or after the closing bell, potentially much sooner than investors who stick solely with regular trade. Plus, companies tend to release big news before or after the regular session to give investors time to digest the information. That can include unexpected announcements like a CEO departure or planned events like quarterly earnings reports.
But individual investors should note that trading outside of core hours comes with its own unique risks. Extended-hours trade typically has far less volume than the regular session because fewer investors are participating, and that can create volatility.
With potentially big swings in prices during after-hours, the price of a stock in the evening might be very different from where shares open the next morning. Additionally, the much smaller pool of market participants means it can be tougher to complete a trade.
The bottom line
The global stock market is composed of stock exchanges all over the world. Most of them are open for investors to trade Monday through Friday during regular business hours in local time. The U.S. and Canada’s exchanges are open 9:30 am to 4:00 pm, straight through. Other countries close for a midday break—for as short as two minutes in London, and for as long as a 90 minute break in some Asian nations. Every exchange closes for a few days each year to mark federal holidays, as well as “bank holidays” in the U.K.
Most exchanges also let investors buy and sell outside of these core hours in sessions known as pre-market and after-hours trade. These extended hours can give investors a lead in trading on news that breaks early or late in the day. But it also poses additional risks, namely that the smaller pool of traders in pre-market and after-hours sessions can lead to increased volatility that may make prices difficult to predict.