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Stock market after-hours trading

Fees, order limitations and reduced liquidity can impact the success of after-hours trades.

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It’s possible to trade after the market closes — if your platform supports it. But before you engage in after-hours trading, weigh the benefits against the risks.

Can you buy stocks after hours?

Yes, you can buy stocks after the market closes as long as your broker allows it. Not all trading platforms offer pre- and post-market trading, and those that do limit extended trading to set time windows that vary by broker.

Can you buy stocks on the weekend?

Thanks to the time difference, it’s possible for Canadian investors to trade in Australian and Asian markets on Sunday evenings.

Traders can also use electronic communication networks (ECNs) to trade on the weekend in the same way after-hours trades are conducted during the week. The network attempts to match potential buyers and sellers based on the trades they want to execute, but fills aren’t always possible — or profitable.

How does after-hours trading work?

Extended trading hours vary by platform and trades are facilitated by electronic communication networks (ECNs) instead of stock exchanges. Trades run through the platform’s partnered ECN and buy and sell orders are matched by price.

Typically, there aren’t as many traders after hours. Not all platforms offer pre- or post-market trading and most active traders restrict their activity to regular market hours. There are perks to after-hours trading, but for many, the risks — primarily low liquidity — outweigh the benefits.

What’s considered after hours?

Any trade that takes place before the market opens or after it closes is considered an after-hours trade. Standard hours and after-hours vary by market:

TSX/TSXV
  • Early trading. Weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET.
  • Normal hours. Weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET.
  • Extended trading session. Weekdays from 4:15 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET.
CSE
  • Early trading. Weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET.
  • Normal hours. Weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET.
  • Extended trading session. Weekdays from 4:15 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET.
NASDAQ
  • Early trading. Weekdays from 4:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET.
  • Normal hours. Weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET.
  • Late trading. Weekdays from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.
NYSE
  • Tape A
    • Pre-opening. Weekdays starting at 6:30 a.m. ET.
    • Normal hours. Weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET.
  • Tapes B & C
    • Pre-opening. Weekdays starting at 6:30 a.m. ET.
    • Early trading. Weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET.
    • Normal hours. Weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET.
  • American Equities, NYSE Chicago, NYSE National
    • Pre-opening. Weekdays starting at 6:30 a.m. ET.
    • Early trading. Weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET.
    • Normal hours. Weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET.
    • Late trading. Weekdays from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.
  • Arca Equities
    • Pre-opening. Weekdays starting at 3:30 a.m. ET.
    • Early trading. Weekdays from 4:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET.
    • Normal hours. Weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET.
    • Late trading. Weekdays from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.
AMEX
  • Pre-opening. Weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. ET.
  • Early trading. Weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET.
  • Normal hours. Weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET.
  • Late trading. Weekdays from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.
    International exchanges

    While hours for international stock exchanges vary, most open between 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and close between 3:00 p.m to 5:30 p.m. in their local time.

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    • Stock fee: Min. $1.00, Max. 0.5% of trade value
    • Option fee: $1.50 min. per order
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    What brokerages allow you to trade after hours?

    BrokerIs after-hour trading available?Details
    Interactive BrokersYesAfter-hours trading is available, although some products can only be traded during regular hours. Clients can see which products can be traded after hours on IB Trader Workstation.
    Scotia iTRADEYesClients must contact an Investment Representative representative to submit an after-hours trade.
    QuestradeYesFollows after-hours trading times of Canadian exchanges, 4:30-5:00 p.m. ET for US securities (cutoff time for trading ECNs is 5:30 p.m.)
    QTradeYesClients can place an order at any time
    Wealthsimple TradeNoBut orders cannot be submitted after hours, but clients can queue orders after hours to be submitted when the market opens next.
    TD Direct InvestingYesAfter-hours trades can be placed 24/7 via WebBroker, Advanced Dashboard or by phone.
    BMO InvestorLine (Self-Directed)YesClients must contact a BMO representative representative to submit an after-hours trade.
    RBC Direct InvestingYesNot available online, but clients can call RBC to submit after-hours orders
    CIBC Investor’s EdgeYes (limited)You can place limit orders — but not market orders — after market hours.

    What happens if I place a trade after my broker is closed?

    It depends on your broker. If your trading platform allows after-hours trading, your order is submitted. If your platform doesn’t offer extended hours, your order will be executed at market open the following trading day.

    Some orders are riskier than others when executing an after-hours trade. A market order instructs your broker to buy or sell stock at the prevailing market price: While you have no control over the price, trades are executed quickly. Market orders placed after the market closes are executed the following morning.

    The risk of placing a market order after the market closes is that if anything happens overnight to affect the stock price, you could face a drastic loss.

    To mitigate this risk, you could opt for a limit order: You tell your broker what price you’re willing to buy or sell and your order is only executed if those conditions are met. The trouble with limit orders is that the trade isn’t guaranteed — if the stock never hits the price you specify, the order won’t be executed.

    Pros and cons of after-hours trading

    Before you engage in after-hours trading, consider the following:

    Pros

    • Convenient. Schedule restrictions and daily activities may limit an investor’s ability to execute trades when the market is open. After-hours trading allows investors to trade at a time that may be more convenient for them.
    • News. After-hours trading offers investors the opportunity to react to important news events before markets open or after they close. Earnings reports, economic indicators and breaking news all have the potential to impact the market after hours.
    • Competitive pricing. After-hours volatility tends to lend itself to increased risk, but this volatility can also work in a trader’s favor if stock prices move in an advantageous direction.

    Cons

    • Less liquidity. Since fewer trades are executed after hours, it’s more difficult to buy and sell shares.
    • Wide spreads. After-hours trading tends to have wider spreads between bid and ask prices. For traders executing limit orders, this could mean fewer trades.
    • Order limitations. Most brokers don’t allow traders to swap mutual funds, bonds or options after hours, limiting trades to the buying and selling of stocks. Stop orders or all-or-none orders are also prohibited after hours, restricting traders to unconditional limit orders.
    • Extra fees. Some brokerages charge additional fees on after-hours trades.

    Compare stock trading platforms that allow after-hours trading

    Name Product Available asset types Stock Fee Option Fee Account Fee ETF Transaction Cost Feature Table description
    Interactive Brokers
    Stocks, Bonds, Options, ETFs, Currencies, Futures
    Min. $1.00, Max. 0.5% of trade value
    $1.50 min. per order
    $0 (if monthly commissions are greater than or equal to US$10.00)
    Min. $1.00, Max. 0.5% of trade value
    Extensive trading capabilities and global investment tracking.
    Access market data 24 hours a day, six days a week and invest in global stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds and funds from one single account.
    Qtrade Investor
    Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs
    $6.95 - $8.75
    $6.95 - $8.75 + $1.25 per contract
    $0 if conditions met, else $25/quarter
    $0 - $8.75
    Trade 100 ETFs free of charge.
    Qtrade Investor offers low trading commissions and an easy-to-use platform with access to powerful tools and a wide selection of investment options. Trade 100 ETFs free of charge and thousands more for $8.75 or lower.
    Questrade
    Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs, International Equities, Precious Metals
    $4.95-$9.95
    $9.95 + $1 per contract
    $0
    Free
    $0 account fee and free ETF transactions.
    Opt for self-directed investing and save on fees or get a pre-built portfolio and take some of the guesswork out.
    Scotia iTRADE
    Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs, International Equities
    $4.99-$9.99
    $9.99 + $1.25 contract ($4.99 + $1.25 contract if completed 150 trades or more a quarter)
    $0
    $9.99 ($4.99 if completed 150 trades or more a quarter)
    Pay no annual account fees.
    Buy, sell and trade ETFs, Equities, Options and more with competitive commissions.
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    Compare up to 4 providers

    Bottom line

    After-hours trading comes with unique benefits and risks. Investors have the opportunity to react to news events and trade at a time that’s potentially more convenient — but reduced trading volume means more volatility, wider spreads and ultimately, greater risk.

    If you’re interested in after-hours trading, find a brokerage account that offers extended hours alongside the features best suited to your investment goals.

    Frequently asked questions

    Image from Getty Images
    Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, CFDs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Trading CFDs and forex on leverage comes with a higher risk of losing money rapidly. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades.

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