There are a vast array of factors to consider when deciding to open a position in the market, including which stock to buy, how much to invest, at what price point to enter the position etc., but none of that is possible in the first place if you don’t know when you are able to enter.
Much like any business or organization you can think of, the stock market too has its own schedule, which is important to be familiar with if you intend on operating in it. The two main factors to consider in this regard are operational hours and total trading days.
In this short guide, we will be focusing primarily on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), two of the most prominent in Europe and North America respectively. Keep in mind that the schedules of other stock exchanges may vary from these two.
Learn the Schedule of Your Market
The first thing to note, before getting into the trading day calendar and market holidays, are the opening and closing hours of the market. Starting in the East, the NYSE opens daily Monday to Friday at 9:00 AM and remains open until 4:00 PM*. Conversely, the LSE opens a bit earlier, at 7:00 AM and is operational until 3:35 PM*.
These time frames are generally fairly similar between markets worldwide, but it is still important to take note of each and be aware of those of your chosen market in order to operate successfully.
Understand How Market Holidays are Recognized
Moving on from the daily schedule, the next important question to tackle is, how many trading days are there? Well, this depends greatly on where you are trading, as market holidays can vary quite a bit between countries. Below you will find a chart comparing the different market holidays observed by the LSE and the NYSE in the year 2020.
|New Year’s Day||January 1, 2020||Closed||Closed|
|MLK Jr. Day||January 20, 2020||Open||Closed|
|Presidents’ Day||February 17, 2020||Open||Closed|
|Good Friday||April 10, 2020||Closed||Closed|
|Easter Monday||April 13, 2020||Closed||Open|
|Bank Holiday||May 8, 2020||Closed||Open|
|May 25, 2020||Closed||Closed|
|Independence Day||July 3, 2020||Open||Closed|
|Bank Holiday||August 31, 2020||Closed||Open|
|Labor Day||September 7, 2020||Open||Closed|
|Thanksgiving Day||November 26||Open||Open; 9AM – 1PM*|
|Christmas Eve||December 24, 2020||Open; 8AM – 12:30PM*||Open|
|Christmas Day||December 25, 2020||Closed||Open; 9AM – 1PM*|
|Boxing Day||December 28, 2020||Closed||Open|
|New Year’s Eve||December 31, 2020||Open; 8AM – 12:30PM*||Open|
An important thing to note when discussing market holidays is that the date we take into account is not necessarily the day the actual holiday falls on but the observed date of the holiday for the market. This dissonance often comes as a result of holidays falling on weekends, in which case the observed date of the market holiday would normally become the next available business day. As you can see in the chart, Boxing Day, which is celebrated on December 26th in the UK, will not take effect as a market holiday until December 28th as a result of the actual holiday falling on a Saturday.
While it may seem like common knowledge, overlooking some simple factors such as which holidays are observed in which markets, or which dates the observed market holidays fall on could result in miscalculations that put your operations at risk. Always make sure you are knowledgeable about the market you are operating in and how it adjusts for different holidays in order to maximize what you get out of your available trading days.
*Please note that times are listed in reference to the local time of the respective stock exchange; New York (GMT -4), London (GMT -1)