CloseOption Knowledgebase


Options trading is a complex and dynamic aspect of the financial market that offers investors unique opportunities to manage significant risk and potentially maximize returns. However, exploring various related concepts, such as options trading hours, pre-market and after-hours trading, and the associated risks, is crucial to fully grasp the significant risk involved in options trading.

In this article, provided by close option, we will explore the fundamentals of options trading, starting with an overview of what options trading entails. We will then delve into options trading hours, explaining what it means and why it is essential for investors. Additionally, we will examine the concept of pre-market and after-hours trading, highlighting why investors choose to participate in these extended trading sessions.


What is Options trading?


Options trading is a more advanced strategy compared to trading stocks or buying and selling underlying stocks or put options in the stock market, often utilized by institutional investors. While stock trading involves straightforward transactions, options trading works differently. When you trade stocks in the stock market, you simply buy or sell them like any other item, aiming to profit by buying low and selling high.

However, options trading involves buying and selling options contracts, which grant the holder the choice, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a specific security (underlying stock) at a predetermined price, known as the strike price, by a certain date. A put option, in particular, is a type of options contract that gives the holder the right to sell the underlying asset at the predetermined price within a specified timeframe. On the other hand, a call option is a type of options contract that gives the option contracts the holder the right to buy the underlying asset at the predetermined price within a specified timeframe.

The strike price is usually set in relation to the closing price of the underlying stock on the trading day prior to the options contract being initiated. Understanding the concept of equity is crucial in options trading, as it refers to ownership in a company or the value of a stock. Evaluating the equity associated with the underlying stock is an important factor in making informed decisions and managing risk effectively. Additionally, options trading allows for the use of limit orders, which are instructions to buy or sell options contracts at a specified price or better. Limit orders are useful in options trading as they allow traders to set specific price targets and execute trades only when those targets are met.

Trading options provides institutional investors with additional flexibility and potential profit opportunities. These investors, with their extensive resources and expertise, engage in options trading to hedge their positions, speculate on market movements, or implement complex trading strategies. Two parties are involved in options trading: the writer (seller) and the holder (buyer).

Institutional investors, acting as holders, often purchase these futures contracts from writers who create them. Holders pay a premium to the writers for the right to buy or sell a particular stock (underlying stock) by a specific date. The premium is usually a cost per share and represents the maximum potential loss for holders if the options contracts become worthless. Having reliable support and guidance from experienced professionals can greatly assist institutional investors in navigating the complexities of options trading and maximizing their potential gains.

Options come in two types: call options and put options. Call options allow the holder to buy shares at the price specified in the contract, while put options allow the holder to sell assets at the contract’s specified price. Options trading in the stock market is attractive to institutional investors because it enables them to manage risk, enhance returns, and implement sophisticated investment strategies. However, it should be noted that the trading strategies involved in buying and selling options can be complex. This is why option approval levels exist to manage risk effectively.

What Does ‘Options Trading Hours’ Mean?

Options trading hours are the specific times when you can buy or sell options contracts on the exchange during the regular market hours. The hours may vary depending on the exchange and the option type. In general, standard trading hours for options align with the regular trading session hours of the underlying asset. For example, in the United States, options can be traded from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM Eastern Time (ET) on weekdays throughout the week, taking into account different time zones. This allows traders from various regions to actively participate in buying and selling options contracts and potentially make money. Additionally, some exchanges offer extended trading sessions called pre-market and after-hours trading. Pre-market trading starts as early as 4:00 AM ET and ends when the market opens at 9:30 AM ET, while after-hours trading begins after the market closes at 4:00 PM ET and can continue until 8:00 PM ET or later. These extended sessions, known as the after-hours market, provide traders with more flexibility to react to news and take advantage of opportunities outside the regular market hours, potentially increasing their chances of making money. So, by actively participating in options trading during these extended sessions in the after-hours market, traders have the potential to make even more money.

Why Are Options Trading Hours Important?

Understanding the importance of options trading hours is crucial for traders who want to maximize their strategies and seize lucrative trading opportunities. Let’s delve into why options trading hours truly matter for traders:

  1. Reacting to Market Events: Extended trading sessions allow traders to respond promptly to significant market events outside standard trading hours. This can be a game-changer when important news or announcements impact the market before or after the usual trading hours.


  1. Flexibility in Trading: Extended trading hours provide traders with the flexibility they need to adapt to their busy schedules or take advantage of specific opportunities that arise outside normal trading hours. It enables them to participate in the market at their preferred times, making trading more convenient and accommodating their personal circumstances.


  1. Reduced Competition: During pre-market and after-hours trading, there tend to be fewer traders in the market compared to regular trading hours. This decrease in competition can lead to better execution prices and improved trading outcomes. Traders can seize this advantage of lower trading volumes to execute their orders more efficiently and achieve better results.


  1. Expanded Market Access: Options trading hours extend the window of opportunity for traders to actively engage in the market. With access to extended trading sessions, traders can actively manage their positions, adjust their strategies, and capitalize on potential profit opportunities that may arise outside regular trading hours. This expanded market access opens new avenues for traders to explore and potentially enhance their trading performance.


  1. Assessing Volatility and Liquidity: Monitoring options activity during different trading hours allows traders to assess and evaluate the levels of volatility and liquidity. Understanding how these factors fluctuate during extended trading hours empowers traders to make well-informed decisions and adapt their strategies accordingly. This knowledge is invaluable in navigating the market effectively and maximizing trading outcomes.


In conclusion, options trading hours are pivotal in maximizing trading opportunities and optimizing strategies. By understanding and utilizing the advantages of extended trading sessions, traders can promptly respond to market events, enjoy the flexibility to trade at their preferred times, potentially encounter reduced competition, and effectively manage their positions. These factors can significantly contribute to traders’ success in the dynamic options trading world.


What Are Pre-market and After-Hours Trading?

As an investor, trader, or buyer, it’s essential to understand that most stock exchanges in North America have specific hours of operation during weekdays. The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and Nasdaq (NASDAQ) all have the same regular trading hours, which are from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, Monday to Friday, excluding stock market holidays.


However, economic activity is not limited to these regular session hours; significant market changes can happen anytime. As a result, markets have started allowing trading beyond regular hours, thanks to advancements in electronic trading and the need to accommodate these shifts.

This type of trading outside regular hours is called pre-market and after-hours trading. Pre-market trading typically occurs between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. ET on weekdays, while after-hours trading begins at 4 p.m. and can continue until as late as 8 p.m. ET on weekdays as well.


How it works

The relatively short duration of regular trading hours, also known as extended hours trading, can result in more efficient markets and reduced volatility. The shorter trading periods allow investors more time to analyze business news and information before markets open, which can prevent rushed trading decisions. However, as trading activity is condensed into a smaller timeframe, it can increase liquidity and narrower spreads.

Pre-market and after-hours trading, part of the extended hours trading, generally have lower trading volumes, and their rules may vary depending on the location. In addition to lower volume, extended trading hours also tend to have limited liquidity, which can result in higher volatility, wider spreads, and more significant price uncertainty. Furthermore, earnings reports are typically released after standard trading hours, which can cause substantial price fluctuations. It’s important for traders to be aware of these factors and to exercise caution when participating in extended hours trading.

What Are the Pre-market Trading Hours?

Pre-market trading refers to any trading activity that occurs before the official opening of the markets. While pre-market trading is not available on the TSX, it is offered on the NYSE and NASDAQ. Typically, pre-market trading takes place between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. ET on weekdays. However, some discount brokers allow access to NYSE and NASDAQ pre-market trading as early as 4 a.m. ET. It’s important to note that pre-market trading can be volatile and may not always reflect the actual opening price of a stock once regular trading begins. Therefore, it’s crucial for traders to use caution and consider pre-market trading as an additional data point rather than a definitive indicator of market sentiment.

What Are the After-Market Hours?

As the name suggests, after-hours trading occurs after the regular trading hours have ended. In the U.S. stock markets, after-hours trading starts at 4 p.m. ET and can continue from 00 p.m. until as late as 8 p.m. ET. The TSX post-trading session occurs from 4:15 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET.


Reasons Why Investors Participate in Pre-market and After-Hours Trading

Investors choose to engage in pre-market and after-hours trading for a variety of reasons. These extended trading hours allow them to react quickly to important business news or market developments that may arise ahead of standard trading hours. For example, suppose a company releases unexpectedly positive earnings after the market has closed. In that case, investors can take advantage of the increased demand for its shares and potentially benefit from a rise in stock price.

Additionally, investors may be influenced by overseas markets. If a company has significant ties to a market in Asia, fluctuations in that market’s price can impact its stock price. By participating in after-hours trading, investors can promptly respond to these changes in electronic market and make informed trading decisions.

However, investors need to be aware of the risks associated with pre-market and after-hours trading, as these extended trading sessions can also introduce higher risks of volatility and limited liquidity.


what are the Risks Associated with Pre-market and After-Hours Trading?


  1. Liquidity: The level of liquidity in a security is determined by the number of orders in the market. During pre-market and after-hours trading, there is often low liquidity, which means there is no guarantee that a trade will be executed. There is a risk of partial execution or no execution at all for an order placed during these times.


  1. Volatility: Volatility refers to a security’s price fluctuations during trading hours. With fewer participants in extended trading hours, trading can be more volatile and result in significant price swings.


  1. Spread: The spread is the difference between the buying and selling price of a security. Lower liquidity and increased volatility can lead to wider spreads during pre-market and after-hours trading.


  1. Availability: Not all stocks are available for trading during pre-market and after-hours sessions. Additionally, only limited orders are typically available to investors during these extended hours.



To summarize, options trading is a dynamic aspect of the financial market that allows investors to manage risk and optimize returns. This article explored the concept of options trading hours and stressed their importance for investors. Additionally, it discussed pre-market and after-hours trading, highlighting why investors engage in these extended trading sessions. However, it also acknowledged the potential risks of pre-market and after-hours trading. Overall, having a solid understanding of these concepts enables investors to make informed decisions and enhance their trading strategies in the options market.




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