After-Hours Trading

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on July 17, 2023

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After-Hours Trading Definition

"After-hours trading" is the time after the major stock exchanges close, during which some trading still occurs.

After-hours trading begins at 4 PM US Eastern Time and can run as late as 8 PM.

This trading is conducted through electronic communication networks, or ECNs, rather than traditional stock exchanges, like the NYSE, or New York Stock Exchange.

How Does After-Hours Trading Work?

After-hours trading is available for investors to utilize when news breaks after the close of the regular trading session which occurs between 9:30 AM and 4 PM Eastern Time.

For example, if a company's earnings report is released after hours, it may prompt investors to buy or sell a stock.

Although a spike in volume may occur initially with the release of news, trading volume will usually thin out as the session progresses, often by 6 PM.

Risks Associated with After-Hours Trading

After hours trading comes with some drawbacks. Because there are less participants during after hours trading, investors will deal with "thin markets."

Fewer participants translates to less liquidity, and less liquidity can create more volatility.

The inefficiency created by fewer participants also creates a larger "bid-ask spread," or a bigger gap between what buyers are willing to pay and sellers are willing to sell for.

Paying slightly more when buying and receiving less when selling, along with the illiquidity and volatility created by fewer market participants, are drawbacks of after hours trading.

After-Hours Trading FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.

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