A trading session, also referred to as a market session, is a defined period of time in which the trading of securities may take place. Securities are traded within a financial market, and a trading session is essential the hours that financial market is open for business.
In the United States, the two main securities markets are The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the National Association of Securities Dealers Automatic Quotation (NASDAQ). Normal trading session hours for the NYSE and NASDAQ are 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern time on Monday through Friday. They are closed on holidays and weekends and have historically observed early closings on days prior to a holiday.
Other major stock exchanges in the world include the JSE in Africa, the São Paulo Stock Exchange in South America, the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Asia, and the London Stock Exchange in Europe. The following is a list of normal Monday to Friday trading session hours for some of the major world financial markets:
- London: 7:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time
- Belgium,France, Sweden, Netherlands: 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Central European Time (CET)
- Frankfurt: 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. CET
- Switzerland: 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. CET
- Australia: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Sydney Time
- Hong Kong: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Hong Kong Time
- Japan: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. for stocks Tokyo Time
- Toronto: 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Eastern
In addition to hours of the major world financial markets, there are smaller secondary markets for such things as options and commodities. Hours are usually very similar to the major markets but trading sessions may vary based on location and which type of security is being traded. You should check the hours that apply to you before engaging in any trading.
With the invention of the Internet and the ability for the securities speculator or investor to trade online through Electronic Communication Networks (ECN's), one may trade securities outside the normal trading session of a financial market during an after-hours trading session or a pre-market trading session. It is advised to check with your broker to find out regular and irregular trading session hours, as trading outside of normal hours may decrease liquidity of your financial assets and liabilities.