After-hours trading is stock trading that occurs after the traditional trading hours of the major exchanges, such as the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market. Since 1985, the regular trading hours in the United States have been from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET).
Trading outside these regular hours is not a new phenomenon but previously was limited to high net-worth investors and institutional investors like mutual funds. The emergence of private trading systems, known as electronic communication networks or ECNs, has allowed individual investors to participate in after-hours trading.
After-hours trading on a day with a normal session occurs from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. ET.
Trading also occurs before the traditional trading hours and is known as pre-market trading. Pre-market trading occurs from 4:00 to 9:30 a.m. ET.
National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) members who voluntarily enter quotations during the after-hours session are required to comply with all applicable limit order protection and display rules (e.g., the Manning rule and the SEC order handling rules).
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