Stock market exchanges are limited to trading hours, which is a period during which the stock market functions and you can buy and sell securities. For example, trading hours of the two largest stock exchanges by market cap, the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq are between 9:30 am and 4:00 pm Eastern Time (ET) during regular weekdays.
But it is also possible to trade securities on trading platforms outside of the trading hours, in the pre-market or after-hours trading market. As the name suggests, in the pre-market, you can trade securities before the regular trading time. In the after-hours market, you can buy and sell securities after it closes.
If, for any reason, you cannot or do not want to trade securities during regular trading hours, we can help you! Below, you will find a list of the best brokers for pre-market trading and the best after-hours trading platforms.
The Best Brokers and Trading Apps for pre-market and after-hours trading
Interactive Brokers offers one of the best trading apps in the market, featuring the possibility of trading during the pre-market or after-hours market. The firm has more than 40 years of service in the industry and is known for being trustworthy. The broker is recommended for professional investors and beginners with a wide range of financial products, low fees, and sophisticated services.
Webull is an investment app from the US with commission-free trading for stocks and ETFs. The broker platform was founded in 2017 and offers a modern investment app where you can enjoy the longest extended-hours trading time on this list. On the platform you can buy and sell stocks between 04:00 am Eastern Time and 08:00 pm Eastern Time.
Etrade is a traditional trading platform from the US with zero commission for trading some securities, a large offering of tradable securities, and a great mobile app.
This trading platform was founded in 2013 and allows you to invest in commission-free stocks, ETFs, derivatives and cryptocurrencies. On the platform, you will also be able to enjoy extended-hours trading.
Firstrade is a low-cost, zero-commission stock and options trading platform. With this platform, you can set orders before and after the market opens without any extra charge in a consistent trading platform.
#1 Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers at a glance
Interactive Brokers is one of the most reliable online brokers. With more than 40 years of experience, it offers a complete trading platform with many different assets for you to trade. The broker has a web application, a desktop application, and two mobile apps: the IBKR Mobile and the IBKR GlobalTrader. The platforms have different functionalities, but we highlight the IBKR GlobalTrader. It is an easy-to-use app suitable for beginners, but one that we consider one of the best trading apps in the market. The IBKR Mobile is suitable for experienced investors, as it can be overwhelming for non-experienced traders. You can check our full review of Interactive brokers here.
The trading hours you can access will vary according to your Interactive Brokers account. If you have the IBKR Pro, you can enjoy full-time trading from 04:00 am until 08:00 pm Eastern Time. If you have the IBKR Lite (available for US residents only), your pre-market trading time will begin at 07:00 am Eastern Time. There are no extra fees for pre-market and after-hours trading on none of the platforms.
Finally, it requires no minimum deposit, and there is no additional cost for pre and after-hours trading.
Webull at a glance
Webull is a low-cost broker with commission-free trading for all of the assets available on the platform. Although the app does not offer a wide range of assets to trade, you can free trade options, cryptocurrencies, stocks, and ETFs. There is no minimum deposit to open a cash account, and its mobile app is comprehensive and easy to use.
There are two reasons the platform is in second place on our list. Firstly, trading in Webull, you may trade during the pre-market or after-hours for free. Secondly, besides trading for free, the platform offers you full extended trading hours. You can enjoy pre-market trading, or after-hours trading and trade securities between 07:00 am and 08:00 pm Eastern Time non-stop, accounting for 16 hours of the trading day and making the platform one of the best ones available for the purpose.
With zero commissions, the longest trading day, and a comprehensive trading platform, you can consider Webull when choosing the platform to invest in during the pre-market or after-hours market.
E*TRADE at a glance
E*TRADE was founded in 1982 and is currently one of the largest online brokers in the US. Its platform offers an extensive and diverse range of investment choices for investors. The trading platform is suitable for beginners and experienced traders. The two mobile apps, the desktop program, and the online platform, have excellent trading tools and intuitive usability. The diverse set of securities available for traders includes mainstream stocks, but also less known penny stocks.
Stocks and ETFs are commission-free, and a small price is charged for the remainder of the instruments. With a considerable range of securities to trade, you can use E*TRADE for commission-free extended-hours trading. Trading hours are not the longest, but it is in line with the other brokers on this list.
Robinhood at a glance
Robinhood is a relatively recent but well-established online trading platform from the US with two simple premises: commission-free securities trading and easy usability. These features are designed to make investing cheaper and accessible to the general public. The company was founded in 2014, and it provides simple services with few trading tools and a few financial instruments. The trading platform is more suitable for beginners, and experienced traders will probably miss sophisticated trading tools.
In the trading platform, you can access extended-hours trading for some stocks and ETFs (there is no official list of the assets included in the feature). Although the number of financial instruments that you can invest in during extended-trading hours is relatively small, the $0 commission, beginner-friendly platform with low fees may compensate for some investors.
Firstrade at a glance
Firstrade is a traditional company founded in 1985 that recently changed its strategy to become a commission-free online trading platform for stocks and options. The broker is considered safe, with a long track record that survived a few crises and top-tier regulators’ supervision.
Although the company has the shortest extended-hours trading period on this list, which amounts to roughly 12 hours, there may be upsides. Besides the commission-free trading, in Firstrade you can earn interest by lending your stocks to other financial institutions, allowing you to have an extra passive income.
Pros and Cons of Extended-Hours Trading
We want you to make responsible and well-informed investments. So it is important to call your attention to a few risks you might bear when trading outside of regular market hours.
- Flexibility: for multiple reasons, you may not be able to trade during regular market hours. Extended hours allow you to have flexibility and invest at different times.
- React to late announcements or news: companies do not report their earnings during market hours because it could make their equity volatile. Extended market hours allow you to react to these reports as quickly as possible. The same idea applies to news that affects the market and government announcements.
- Lack of liquidity: the pre-market and after-hours trading markets have a much smaller number of participants. Therefore, these markets generally have less liquidity, which can affect the prices of securities, making them more volatile.
- Bid/ask spread: as a consequence of the low liquidity, the bid and ask spread will likely be larger, which makes trading more expensive.
- Different prices from regular trading hours: most investors do not trade securities outside trading hours. So, due to multiple different factors such as news, announcements, etc, the price of the instrument at the opening of the market may not be the same as it was during the after-hours market.
Should I trade during extended trading hours?
The decision to trade during the pre-market or after-hours market should be entirely yours. We encourage you to do thorough due diligence to assess whether the investment is suitable for you or not. As we explained, there are pros and cons of trading during these hours, and it is up to you to decide if you should take the risks or not.
The bottom line
To sum it up, these are our top picks:
Best Brokers For Pre-Market And After-Hours Trading
We encourage you to perform well-informed investments, and it is up to you to choose which platform to use. If you have any doubt or want to provide feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below. We hope the article was helpful, and we wish you good luck with your investments!
When does the pre-market and the after-hours trading take place?
In the US, pre-market hours may be set between 4:00 am and 9:30 am, and the after-hours market may be set between 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm Eastern Time (ET). The exact time will vary according to the broker you choose. The only brokers in the list that support full extended trading hours are Interactive Brokers and Webull.
Which financial instruments can I trade during the pre-market and the after-hours market?
Generally speaking, you will be able to trade stocks and ETFs during the extended-hours market. Depending on the case, ETFs may have longer trading hours, as they may be traded overnight, 24 hours, and 5 days a week. You can also trade in the Foreign Exchange Market 24 hours and 5 days a week. Cryptocurrencies can be traded at any time, without trading hours.
Can I buy stocks during the weekend?
No, there are no extended market hours on weekends.
What are the risks of trading during extended market hours?
When trading during the pre-market or after-hours, you will have to face liquidity risk, since there are fewer traders at these periods, and price risk, considering that regular trading hours have more influence on the price of the asset than extended trading hours.