Learning About Extended Hours Trading

November 6, 2020

Extended Hours Trading specifically refers to stock trading outside Wall Street’s traditional trading hours of 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST. An Extended Hours order may be placed and executed on one of the Electronic Communications Networks (ECNs). Extended Hours investing involves unique risks that investors should fully understand before placing an order after hours. These risks include, but are not limited to, greater price volatility, less liquidity, and wider bid/ask spreads than during regular market hours.


Extended Hours Trading is provided only in stocks listed on a national exchange and NASDAQ. eOption does not accept extended hours trades for pink sheet stocks, bulletin board stocks, or options.


Extended hours trades must be placed as a limit order. Due to the illiquid nature of extended hours markets, market orders are not accepted.


Extended hours sessions are:

(Times all in EST)

Pre-Market 8:00AM – 9:28AM

Post Market 4:00PM – 6:00PM

Pre-Market and Regular 8:00AM – 4:00PM

Regular and Post 9:30AM – 6:00PM

All Sessions 8:00AM – 6:00PM

Regular 9:30AM – 4:00PM


ECNs provide a service to investors that want to trade during traditional and nontraditional hours. Since Extended Hours Trading for retail customers is still a relatively small market, many brokerage firms staff for the traditional trading hours, with a smaller staff during the Extended Trading sessions. The availability of customer support staff and other services relating to policies and operations during Extended Hours Trading may also be limited, including access to account information and account representatives and

support staff (such as margin clerks and cashiers) especially in the event of heavy Internet traffic, phone usage, or system capacity problems.

Most ECN’s only allow customers to enter limit orders, meaning they will only accept orders to buy and sell at a specific price. If a trade can’t be consummated at that price, the order will expire unfilled. Essentially, the ECN systems simply list orders to buy and sell, and when they detect a match, the system automatically executes the trades. Regardless of whether or not a particular ECN allows market orders or sticks to limit orders only, it is good practice for investors to place only limit orders, thus protecting themselves somewhat from the wide price swings that might occur in the Pre and Post-trading sessions, when trading volume is lower.


The risks of Extended Hours trading include but are not limited to:

- Limited liquidity, lack of depth and breadth;

- Increased volatility;

- Inaccurate ‘real time’ quotes;

- Wider than normal spreads;

- Fragmentation of the market;

- Impact of news announcements;

- Risk of changing prices

Prior to participating in this unique Extended Hours session, you should review and be aware of the various risks and requirements involved in Extended Hours Trading. While trading in the Extended Hours sessions is not new, in the past it has been a mostly institutional market with institutional traders working primarily on behalf of banks, insurance companies, mutual funds and pension funds.

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This information provided for general informational purposes only and should not be considered recommendations or advice by eOption.

Options trading involves risk and is not suitable for all investors. Options trading privileges are subject to eOption review and approval.  Please review the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options brochure and  the Supplement before you begin trading options.

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