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Posted on 21 June 2012.
After hour trading is one of the fastest growing types of investment in the world. Also called extended hours trading, the practice was once restricted to large financial institutions and high net-worth investors who had access to the markets after regular trading hours were finished. Today, however, the use of electronic platforms known as ECN’s has given many new investors the opportunity to continue trading after hours. These platforms can be accessed online and some can be used up to twenty-three hours per day. Some platforms even come with apps that give investors access to their investments from their cell phones or tablets.
Traditionally, after hour trading takes place any time outside of regular trading hours. Prominent exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock market are open between 9:30am and 4:00pm Eastern Standard Time. This has long made trading difficult for those who live on the west coast or even in the center of the continent. With the emergence of the internet and ECN’s, investors are able to buy, sell and trade stocks long after the major exchanges have closed up for the evening. Most of the trading that takes place after hours happens between 4:00pm and 8:00pm Eastern Standard Time. Pre-market trading, from 7:00am to 9:30am is also common. Trading after 8:00pm is known as late trading and is illegal on many markets. There are, however, a number of notable exceptions to this rule. The over-the-counter market is open twenty-three hours a day. The Globex electronic platform of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is also open all night, save an hour.
While some day traders believe that only amateurs trade after hours, many investors have made their fortunes on the extended hours exchange. If you are interested in having greater access to the market, you will need to subscribe to one of the many ECN’s available online. Once you have the platform, you can start your career in after hour trading.
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