Trading Market Hours and Schedules

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The Intercontinental Exchange

Holidays & Trading Hours

Holidays: All Markets

All NYSE markets observe U.S. holidays as listed below for 2020, 2021, and 2022

Holiday 2020 2021 2022
New Years Day Wednesday, January 1 Friday, January 1
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Monday, January 20 Monday, January 18 Monday, January 17
Washington’s Birthday Monday, February 17 Monday, February 15 Monday, February 21
Good Friday Friday, April 10 Friday, April 2 Friday, April 15
Memorial Day Monday, May 25 Monday, May 31 Monday, May 30
Independence Day Friday, July 3 (July 4 holiday observed) Monday, July 5 (July 4 holiday observed) Monday, July 4
Labor Day Monday, September 7 Monday, September 6 Monday, September 5
Thanksgiving Day Thursday, November 26* Thursday, November 25* Thursday, November 24*
Christmas Day Friday, December 25** Friday, December 24 (Christmas holiday observed) Monday, December 26 (Christmas holiday observed)

* Each market will close early at 1:00 p.m. (1:15 p.m. for eligible options) on Friday, November 27, 2020, Friday, November 26, 2021, and Friday, November 25, 2022 (the day after Thanksgiving). Crossing Session orders will be accepted beginning at 1:00 p.m. for continuous executions until 1:30 p.m. on these dates, and NYSE American Equities, NYSE Arca Equities, NYSE Chicago, and NYSE National late trading sessions will close at 5:00 pm. All times are Eastern Time.

** Each market will close early at 1:00 p.m. (1:15 p.m. for eligible options) on Thursday, December 24, 2020. Crossing Session orders will be accepted beginning at 1:00 p.m. for continuous executions until 1:30 p.m. on this date, and NYSE American Equities, NYSE Arca Equities, NYSE Chicago, and NYSE National late trading sessions will close at 5:00 pm. All times are Eastern Time.

Tape A

Pre-Opening Session: 6:30 a.m. ET

  • Orders can be entered and will be queued until the Opening Auction at 9:30 a.m. ET

Core Trading Session: 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

  • 9:30 a.m. ET – Core Open Auction
  • 3:45 p.m. to 4:00 ET – 123(c) Closing Imbalance Period
  • 4:00 p.m. ET – Closing Auction

Tapes B & C

Pre-Opening Session: 6:30 a.m. ET

  • Orders can be entered and will be queued until the Opening Auction at 7:00 a.m. ET

Early Trading Session: 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET

Core Trading Session: 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

NYSE American Equities

Pre-Opening Session: 6:30 a.m.

  • Orders can be entered and will be queued until the Early Open Auction at 7:00 a.m. ET*

Early Trading Session: 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET

  • 6:59 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. ET – Early Open Auction Imbalance Freeze Period
  • 7:00 a.m. ET – Early Open Auction
  • 9:29:55 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET – Core Open Auction Imbalance Freeze Period

Core Trading Session: 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

  • 9:30 a.m. ET – Core Open Auction
  • 3:50 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET – Closing Auction Imbalance Freeze Period
  • 4:00 p.m. ET – Closing Auction

Late Trading Session: 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

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* Auctions are conducted only in auction-eligible symbols.

NYSE Arca Equities

Pre-Opening Session: 3:30 a.m.

  • Orders can be entered and will be queued until the Early Open Auction at 4:00 a.m. ET*

Early Trading Session: 4:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET

  • 3:59 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. ET – Early Open Auction Imbalance Freeze Period
  • 4:00 a.m. ET – Early Open Auction
  • 9:29:55 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET – Core Open Auction Imbalance Freeze Period

Core Trading Session: 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

  • 9:30 a.m. ET – Core Open Auction
  • 3:59 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET – Closing Auction Imbalance Freeze Period
  • 4:00 p.m. ET – Closing Auction

Late Trading Session: 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

* Auctions are conducted only in auction-eligible symbols.

The Best Times to Trade the Forex Markets

Many first-time forex traders hit the market running. They watch various economic calendars and trade voraciously on every release of data, viewing the 24-hours-a-day, five-days-a-week foreign exchange market as a convenient way to trade all day long. Not only can this strategy deplete a trader’s reserves quickly, but it can burn out even the most persistent trader. Unlike Wall Street, which runs on regular business hours, the forex market runs on the normal business hours of four different parts of the world and their respective time zones, which means trading lasts all day and night.

So what’s the alternative to staying up all night long? If traders can gain an understanding of the market hours and set appropriate goals, they will have a much stronger chance of realizing profits within a workable schedule.

The Forex Markets Hours of Operation

First, here is a brief overview of the four markets (hours in Eastern Standard Time, or EST):

  • New York (open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.): New York is the second-largest forex platform in the world, watched heavily by foreign investors because the U.S. dollar is involved in 90% of all trades, according to “Day Trading the Currency Markets” (2006) by Kathy Lien.   Movements in the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) can have an immediate and powerful effect on the dollar. When companies merge, and acquisitions are finalized, the dollar can gain or lose value instantly.
  • Tokyo (open 7 p.m. to 4 a.m.): Tokyo, the first Asian trading center to open, takes in the largest bulk of Asian trading, just ahead of Hong Kong and Singapore. The currency pairs that typically have a fair amount of action are USD/JPY, GBP/CHF, and GBP/JPY. The USD/JPY is an especially good pair to watch when the Tokyo market is the only one open, because of the heavy influence the Bank of Japan has over the market. 
  • Sydney (open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.): Sydney is where the trading day officially begins. While it is the smallest of the mega-markets, it sees a lot of initial action when the markets reopen on Sunday afternoon because individual traders and financial institutions are trying to regroup after the long pause since Friday afternoon.
  • London (open 3 a.m. to noon): The U.K. dominates the currency markets worldwide, and London is its main component. London, a central trading capital of the world, accounts for roughly 43% of global trading, according to a report by BIS.   The city also has a big impact on currency fluctuations because the Bank of England, which sets interest rates and controls the monetary policy of the GBP, has its headquarters in London.   Forex trends often originate in London as well, which is a great thing for technical traders to keep in mind.

The Best Hours for Forex Trading

Currency trading is unique because of its hours of operation. The week begins at 5 p.m. EST on Sunday and runs until 5 p.m. on Friday.

Not all hours of the day are equally good for trading. The best time to trade is when the market is most active. When more than one of the four markets are open simultaneously, there will be a heightened trading atmosphere, which means there will be more significant fluctuation in currency pairs.

When only one market is open, currency pairs tend to get locked in a tight pip spread of roughly 30 pips of movement. Two markets opening at once can easily see movement north of 70 pips, particularly when big news is released.

Overlaps in Forex Trading Times

The best time to trade is during overlaps in trading times between open markets. Overlaps equal higher price ranges, resulting in greater opportunities. Here is a closer look at the three overlaps that happen each day:

  • U.S./London (8 a.m. to noon): The heaviest overlap within the markets occurs in the U.S./London markets. More than 70% of all trades happen when these markets overlap because the U.S. dollar and the euro are the two most popular currencies to trade, according to Lien. This is the most optimal time to trade since volatility is high. 
  • Sydney/Tokyo (2 a.m. to 4 a.m.): This time period is not as volatile as the U.S./London overlap, but it still offers a chance to trade in a period of higher pip fluctuation. EUR/JPY is the ideal currency pair to aim for, as these are the two main currencies influenced.
  • London/Tokyo (3 a.m. to 4 a.m.): This overlap sees the least amount of action of the three because of the time (most U.S.-based traders won’t be awake at this time), and the one-hour overlap gives little opportunity to watch large pip changes occur.

Impact of News Releases on Forex Markets

While understanding the markets and their overlaps can aid a trader in arranging his or her trading schedule, there is one influence that should not be forgotten: the release of the news.

A big news release has the power to enhance a normally slow trading period. When a major announcement is made regarding economic data—especially when it goes against the predicted forecast—currency can lose or gain value within a matter of seconds.

Even though dozens of economic releases happen each weekday in all time zones and affect all currencies, a trader does not need to be aware of all of them. It is important to prioritize news releases between those that need to be watched versus those that should be monitored.

Examples of significance news include:

  • Interest rate decisions
  • CPI data
  • Trade deficits
  • Consumer consumption
  • Central bank meetings
  • Consumer confidence
  • GDP data
  • Unemployment rates
  • Retail trade

The Bottom Line

It is important to take advantage of market overlaps and keep a close eye on news releases when setting up a trading schedule. Traders looking to enhance profits should aim to trade during more volatile periods while monitoring the release of new economic data. This balance allows part-time and full-time traders to set a schedule that gives them peace of mind, knowing that opportunities are not slipping away when they take their eyes off the markets or need to get a few hours of sleep.

Futures Market Hours: Holiday Trading Schedule

December 16, 2020 by Daniels Trading | Tips & Strategies

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) is the world’s largest futures marketplace. Traders from around the world engage the CME on a daily basis, courtesy of its CME Globex electronic platform. The exchange’s regular business hours are nearly 24/5, but 11 U.S.-recognized holidays affect its schedule. Here is the CME Group’s futures market hours holiday schedule for 2020:

Holiday Dates Impacted
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day January 17-21
President’s Day February 14-18
Good Friday (Easter Weekend) April 9-13
Memorial Day May 22-26
Independence Day July 2-6
Labor Day September 4-8
Thanksgiving November 25-27
Christmas December 24-28
New Year’s December 31 2020-January 4 2021

The trading hours for each affected session on the CME Group’s 2020 holiday calendar are finalized two weeks prior to the dates in question. Before trading on these days, it’s imperative that you check with your broker regarding each market’s official opening and closing times.

If you’re going to actively trade during a holiday, remember that the days leading up to and following the event are frequently impacted. Often, an early close will precede the holiday itself, with the market re-opening at an unconventional time. Each of these factors can significantly impact liquidity, so you should account for them on a case-by-case basis.

Keys to Holiday Trading

Over the course of the year, holidays periodically halt or cease trading on the futures markets. From traditional celebrations such as Christmas and New Year’s to government and bank closures, business hours are subject to change.

As with most everything in futures trading, there is considerable nuance involved with the futures market hours holiday calendar. Here are a few important considerations to make before assuming risk during the observance of a holiday:

  • Liquidity: During a typical futures market hours holiday session, participation levels tend to lag. Because many retail traders and institutional investors are out of the office, traded volumes decrease. When this occurs, wide bid/ask spreads, increased slippage, and chaotic price action become the norms.
  • Shortened session: In many cases, holidays are observed by an early halt to trading instead of an outright market closure. For these sessions, intraday traders are faced with limited opportunities and urgent maintenance margin considerations on the premature close.
  • News cycle: Unlike banks or the U.S. government, real life is not on a preset schedule. Surprise headlines and global market drivers are capable of occurring 24/7/365. If an untimely event takes place during a closure or abbreviated holiday session, price action can become unhinged very quickly.

In reality, the futures markets are open and at full-strength for about 249 days each year. If holiday action is especially thin or turbulent, then you don’t have to trade. Often, seizing the opportunity to take a much-needed break is more financially and psychologically rewarding than piling on the risk in less-than-ideal conditions.

If You’re Not Sure, Check with Your Broker

Holiday trading is no easy task. Many of the products listed on the CME feature specific business hours and unique liquidity concerns. Interest rates, ag markets, equities, and commodities all have different parameters. In short, one size does not fit all. Understanding when these markets open and close and what to expect is key to managing holiday sessions successfully.

For many, the holidays are a chance to take a break from the action of the market. However, if you’re going to trade, be sure to consult your broker’s futures market hours holiday calendar. To learn more, become a DT Insider to enjoy the benefits of Daniels Trading’s online Futures Calendar & Reference Guide.

About Daniels Trading

Daniels Trading is an independent futures brokerage firm located in the heart of Chicago’s financial district. Established by renowned commodity trader Andy Daniels in 1995, Daniels Trading is built on a culture of trust committed to the firm’s mission of Independence, Objectivity and Reliability.

Risk Disclosure

This material is conveyed as a solicitation for entering into a derivatives transaction.

This material has been prepared by a Daniels Trading broker who provides research market commentary and trade recommendations as part of his or her solicitation for accounts and solicitation for trades; however, Daniels Trading does not maintain a research department as defined in CFTC Rule 1.71. Daniels Trading, its principals, brokers and employees may trade in derivatives for their own accounts or for the accounts of others. Due to various factors (such as risk tolerance, margin requirements, trading objectives, short term vs. long term strategies, technical vs. fundamental market analysis, and other factors) such trading may result in the initiation or liquidation of positions that are different from or contrary to the opinions and recommendations contained therein.

Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance. The risk of loss in trading futures contracts or commodity options can be substantial, and therefore investors should understand the risks involved in taking leveraged positions and must assume responsibility for the risks associated with such investments and for their results.

Trade recommendations and profit/loss calculations may not include commissions and fees. Please consult your broker for details based on your trading arrangement and commission setup.

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