What are After Hours Trading?
After-hours trading refers to the trading done on the stock markets after the market closes at 4 pm in the US thereby giving people an option to trade in the securities once the market closes and there is no further price movement.
People are allowed to trade in shares even if the market has closed in the after-hours session thus reacting to the latest news and events with respect to the stock and take the advantage before the market reopens on the next day.
How does it Work?
- The US stock markets start at 9.00 am in the morning and closes at 4 pm in the evening. This session starts from 4 pm till 8 pm during which the investors can trade in securities without any impact on the prices.
- This is more popular among the high net worth individuals and institutions like the mutual funds who have the risk-taking ability.
- More common among the risk investors who want to take a high risk on their investments in order to have higher returns
- There are certain rules and regulations that apply to the after-hours trading as compared to the normal trading hours with regards to the type of the orders accepted, the presence or the absence of the market makers.
How does After-hours Trading have an Impact on the Market?
The trading is done in the after-hours session will definitely impact the opening price of the stock since the traders will take into account both the latest news and events with regards to the stock as well as the trading done in the stock. For example, If there is news out on the internet that there is a trade war between the middle east and the US, traders may take sell positions in the stock in the after-hours session expecting the market to go down the next day in the morning and earn profits.
Risk Involved in After-hours Trade
Even if trading is possible after the normal market has closed, there are some risks that need to be taken into consideration while trading in the stocks. Below mentioned are some of the risk factors that will play a major role:
#1 – Less liquidity
The liquidity in such sessions is far less as compared to the normal working hours where there are a large number of buyers and sellers to trade in the securities. Hence there is a risk of liquid cash getting generated in the after-hours trade. The trading volume in the stocks would be very minimal with mostly large financial institutions taking the bigger pie in it and hence the retail individuals are left with minimal quantities to trade-in.
#2 – Spreads
Due to the low volume in such sessions, the bid and ask prices vary at a significant level due to which the investors may not be able to trade at the prices favorable to them. The buyer and sellers may post a vague bid and ask price thus taking advantage of the trading session and benefiting from the same.
#3 – Mostly Favorable for Institutional Investors
Since large institutional investors trade in large volumes and value, it would be very difficult for the individual investor to compete with the large institutional investors since they have access to more resources and facilities.
#4 – Volatility in Stock Prices
Due to the low trading volume, there is immense volatility in the prices of the securities which may result in high-end fluctuations. Due to high fluctuation, trade may be a little riskier as the buyer might end up in purchasing the stock at a higher price and also the seller may end up selling the stock at a throw-away price.
Below mentioned are some of the advantages:
- Convenience: It provides a convenience to the investors who missed an opportunity to trade in the normal market hours and want to execute a trade after market hours. It gives the investor time to trade in his securities even after normal market hours thus providing him with comfort and convenience.
- News and Events: One can take advantage of the latest news and the events affecting the stock prices and take suitable positions in the aftermarket hours session to take advantage of the news.
- Technical Analysis: Once you can also analyze the chart of the stock and react to the same before the market opens tomorrow morning at 9.00 am.
- You have only access to buy, sell or limit orders. Hence your order will either get partially filled or it will not be executed at all.
- One may not get the best possible price for the stock since due to the low volume there would be high price fluctuations and the right price may not be available which is best suited for the investor.
Hence from the above information, we learned today the basics of the after-hours trading, how it is worked and what are the pros and cons of the same. Although it’s an interesting concept however it comes with various rules and regulations that need to be followed before trading.
This has been a guide to what is after-hours trading. Here we discuss working and risk involved in after-hours trade along with advantages and disadvantages. You can learn more about financing from the following articles –