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After-hours trading in Canada

If you want to trade after the bell, remember that order limitations and reduced liquidity can impact the success after-hours trading.

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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.

What is after-hours trading?

After-hours trading means placing a trade after the market closes, which you can do long as your broker allows it. Market hours differ based on the stock exchange. 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.

What brokerages allow you to trade after-hours?

BrokerAfter-hours tradingDetailsGo to site
Picture not describedYesAfter-hours trading is available, but some products can only be traded during regular hours. See after hours products on IB Trader Workstation.Go to site
Picture not describedYesClients must contact an Investment Representative representative to submit an after-hours trade.
Picture not describedYesYou can place limit orders — but not market orders — after market hours.Go to site
Picture not describedYesFollows 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.)Go to site
Picture not describedYesClients can place an order at any timeGo to site
Picture not describedNoBut orders cannot be submitted after hours, but clients can queue orders after hours to be submitted when the market opens next.Go to site
Picture not describedYesClients must contact a BMO representative representative to submit an after-hours trade.
Picture not describedYesAfter-hours trades can be placed 24/7 via WebBroker, Advanced Dashboard or by phone.
Picture not describedYesNot available online, but clients can call RBC to submit after-hours orders

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. Plus, there may be more competition from institutional investors after-hours. There are perks to after-hours trading, including the ability to quickly respond to changes in the market, regardless of time of day. However, for many investors, the risks — primarily low liquidity — outweigh the benefits.

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.

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.

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:

ExchangeEarly/Pre-Opening TradingNormal HoursExtended/Late trading session
TSX/TSXVWeekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ETWeekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ETWeekdays from 4:15 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET
CSEWeekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ETWeekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ETWeekdays from 4:15 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET
NASDAQWeekdays from 4:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ETWeekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ETWeekdays from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET
NYSE Tape AWeekdays starting at 6:30 a.m. ETWeekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ETN/A
NYSE Tapes B & CPre-opening. Weekdays starting at 6:30 a.m. ET
Early trading. Weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET
Weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ETN/A
NYSE American Equities, NYSE Chicago, NYSE NationalPre-opening. Weekdays starting at 6:30 a.m. ET
Early trading. Weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET
Weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ETWeekdays from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET
NYSE Arca EquitiesPre-opening. Weekdays starting at 3:30 a.m. ET
Early trading. Weekdays from 4:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET
Weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ETWeekdays from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET
AMEXPre-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
Weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ETWeekdays from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET
International exchangesVariesMost open between 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. and close between 3:00 p.m – 5:30 p.m. local time.Varies

Compare stock trading platforms that allow after-hours trading

1 - 4 of 4
Name Product Finder Rating Available Asset Types Stock Trading Fee Account Fee Signup Offer Table description
Interactive Brokers
Finder Score:
★★★★★
4.3 / 5
Stocks, Bonds, Options, ETFs, Currencies, Futures
min $1.00, max 0.5%
$0
N/A
Winner for Best Overall Broker in the Finder Stock Trading Platform Awards.
CIBC Investor's Edge
Finder Score:
★★★★★
3.8 / 5
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs
$6.95
$0 if conditions met, or $100
100 free trades + up to $4,500 cash back
An easy-to-use platform with access to a variety of tools to help you trade with confidence.
Questrade
Finder Score:
★★★★★
4.3 / 5
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs, International Equities, Precious Metals
$4.95 - $9.95
$0
Get $50 in free trades when you fund your account with a minimum of $1,000.
Opt for self-directed investing and save on fees or get a pre-built portfolio to take out some of the guesswork.
Qtrade Direct Investing
Finder Score:
★★★★★
3.7 / 5
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs
$6.95 - $8.75
$0 if conditions met, otherwise $25/quarter
Get up to a $150 sign-up bonus. Use code OFFER2024. Ends October 31, 2024.
Low trading commissions and an easy-to-use platform with access to powerful tools and a wide selection of investment options.
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Pros and cons of after-hours trading

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.
  • Ability to react to 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.

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

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Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, 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 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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