When Is It Best to Buy and Sell Stocks During the Day?

When Is It Best to Buy and Sell Stocks During the Day?

When the following conditions exist, it may be beneficial to make investments in the stock market! Sometimes, having less is better than having more when it comes to day trading. It is often more beneficial for most traders of stocks, stock index futures, and index-based exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to devote two to three hours per day to buying and selling equities rather than spending the entire trading day doing so. Trading all day requires significantly more time investment than is required for only a marginally more significant return. Because certain hours of the day offer the most opportunities for day trading, limiting your trading to only those times can help you make the most of your time and effort. Outside of these ideal trading hours, even the most experienced day traders often find it more likely to incur losses.

Key takeaways

  • It makes more sense to focus on the hours that present the best opportunity to purchase and sell stocks rather than run the risk of incurring financial losses during the other hours of the day.
  • The optimum times to trade on the stock market are often the first two hours of the day and the last two hours of the day, which correspond to the start and finish of the trading session.
  • Because the opening and last hours of the trading day are typically the most volatile, more seasoned traders might consider focusing their attention there.
  • Trends in the past can provide insight into what the markets may do week-to-week, month-to-month, or year-to-year again, but one can never guarantee these predictions.

When is the stock market at its best for day trading?

The first two hours of the trading day on the stock market may be the most fruitful for day trading. In the United States, this period begins when the market opens at 9:30 a.m. and lasts until 11:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST). The final hour of the trading day might also be a fruitful period for day trading. That would be from 3 to 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) in the United States. Invest some effort into learning the hours of operation of the stock market you intend to trade. This will help you ensure that you are doing business during the periods of the day that offer the most profit potential.

Dealing on the market immediately upon opening

It is sufficient for many traders to participate in the trading activity during the first one to two hours of each trading day that the stock market is open. The first hour of trading is typically the most volatile. It offers the most possibility for profit (and potentially the most risk). Even while it may come across as harsh, expert traders frequently are aware that a significant amount of "stupid money" is flowing at that time. The practice of people conducting financial transactions based on something they read in the newspaper or watched on television the previous evening is an example of the phenomenon known as "stupid money." In most cases, these individuals act based on already outdated knowledge. Their transactions can potentially trigger abrupt price changes in a single direction. Then, professional traders take advantage of the price being artificially pushed too high or low and attempt to push it back in the opposite direction. New-day traders are frequently given the piece of advice that they should avoid trading during the first 15 minutes of the trading day. While this may be sound guidance for very new traders, experienced traders will typically find that the first 15 minutes of the trading day present the most lucrative opportunities. This time frame has the potential to produce the most significant trades of the day based on the beginning trends.

The most profitable trading period of the day

Because regular trading starts at 9:30 a.m. EST, the hour that ends at 10:30 a.m. EST is typically considered the most profitable trading hour of the day. It allows you to make the most significant changes in the most minor period of time. Because volatility and volume tend to decrease at about 11:30 a.m., many professionals who trade daily decide to quit trading at that time. The combination of longer trade times and smaller price movements on lesser volume is not advantageous for day trading. Suppose you are day trading index futures such as the E-mini S&P 500 (ES) or an index-based ETF like the SPDR S&P 500 (SPY). In that case, you might start trading as early as 8 a.m. during pre-market hours and begin tapering off at around 10:30 a.m. Futures trade virtually 24 hours per day on weekdays, so if you are day trading index futures, you might start trading as early as 8 a.m. during pre-market hours. This affords a total of two hours of trading. There are typically a lot of possibilities for profit during this time. Trading can continue until 11:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST), just like it does with stocks, but only if the market is still presenting opportunities to capitalize on the trading tactics that you are employing.

Transactions conducted during the final hour

The final hour of trading for most day traders occurs between 3 and 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Traders will have had ample time since the morning session to recollect their thoughts and restore their concentration when the afternoon session begins. When you look at regular patterns that occur during the trading day on the stock market, the last hour can be very similar to the first hour. It is packed with bolder moves and quick reversals throughout. In the same way, they do during the first hour, many novice traders enter the market during the last hour, either buying or selling based on what has occurred throughout the day. There is once again a significant amount of stupid money in circulation, albeit not quite as much as there was earlier in the day. It is now in a position where it can be purchased by money managers and day traders with more experience. The final few minutes of trading can be incredibly hectic, with significant price movements occurring on a high volume of trades.

The best times of the day and months to invest in the stock market

Beyond the monotony of the hour-by-hour routine, remember to keep the broader picture in mind. Because the market has a historical tendency to decline at the beginning of the week, particularly around the middle of the month, Monday afternoon is typically considered an excellent time to make purchases. Many market analysts suggest selling on Friday before a three-day weekend or the first day of a new month to take advantage of the higher prices that are likely to be seen on Monday after the market has dropped. In a similar vein, prices tend to fall in September before climbing once more one month later. October is often favorable, and prices typically increase once more in January, particularly for value and small-cap companies.

The crux of the matter

Trading daily calls for a high level of self-control and concentration, which can be compared to muscles. If you push the muscles too hard, they will eventually become fatigued. Trading for only two to three hours a day may help you stay on top of your game. Attempting to trade for six or seven hours every day can be exhausting, making you more prone to making mistakes. It is unlikely to cause mental tiredness that can negatively impact your profession. Naturally, various people have varying degrees of concentration and self-control. Although some traders may be able to purchase and sell during the whole trading day successfully, most traders will fare better if they limit their activity to the few hours that are most favorable for day trading. Day trading is not for everyone because there are a lot of rules to follow and hazards involved in the process. Before you begin day trading, you should make sure you have a solid understanding of the process and ask yourself if it is something you would enjoy doing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When does the market stop accepting orders for after-hours stock trading?

After-hours trading occurs from four in the afternoon to eight in the evening Eastern Standard Time.

What would happen if I put a market order for stocks after the market has closed?

You may or may not be able to successfully place an after-hours market order, depending on the brokerage that you use (assuming someone is willing to sell). Some brokerages may require traders to place limit orders during after-hours trading because limit orders enable traders to exert control over unforeseen price fluctuations. On the other hand, the after-hours market has a lower trading volume, which impacts both the liquidity and the price action.

What time does the stock market open and close in the Pacific Time zone?

The stock market is open for business on the West Coast of the United States from 6:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST) until 1:00 p.m.

When exactly does the stock market in Japan open?

The Tokyo Stock Exchange is open from nine in the morning to three in the afternoon, local time, with a break for lunch at 11:30 in the morning. Since the time zone in Tokyo is one hour ahead of that in the United States, that equates to 7 p.m. (of the day before) to 1 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

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