Futures Trading Hours

Futures Trading Hours and Holidays

Do you know what the futures trading hours are? If you’ve been trading for any time, you know regular market hours are 9:30-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. But what about the Future? Are their hours different from regular market hours? The answer is yes! Which will make the future great for people who work full-time.

When it comes to futures trading hours, it’s important to note that the specific trading hours can vary depending on the exchange and the type of futures contract traded. For example, the trading hours of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), one of the largest futures exchanges, vary based on the product and time of year. 

Futures allow you to diversify your portfolio while gaining exposure to new markets. If you are a day trader, then futures are a great option because you can trade at nearly any time of the day. Investors can trade over 70 futures products virtually 24 hours a day, six days a week. Each specific exchange has its opening and closing times. However, not all hours are optimal.

For those who live in time zones where the NYSE opens at a cringe-worthy hour, futures could solve your problem. If you can’t drag yourself out of bed in the morning, have you considered trading futures overnight hours? Your dreams just may have come true as futures trade throughout the night.

Futures Trading Hours TD Ameritrade

Futures Trading Hours TD Ameritrade.

Futures Trading Hours Basics

Trading hours are in U.S. Central Time unless otherwise stated.

The general hours for the various exchanges of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) are as follows:

CME and CBT products submitted via CME ClearPort Clearing, the hours are: Sunday 5:00 p.m. – Friday 5:45 p.m. CST with no reporting Monday – Thursday 5:45 p.m.–6:00 p.m. CST

For CME OTC FX products submitted via CME ClearPort Clearing, the hours are Sunday 6:00 p.m. – Friday 5:45 p.m. CST with no reporting Monday – Thursday 5:45 p.m.–6:00 p.m. CST.

NYMEX and COMEX products submitted via CME ClearPort Clearing, the hours are: Sunday 5:00 p.m. – Friday 4:00 p.m. CST with no reporting Monday – Thursday 4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. CST

When trading, you want to be in a position with more market volume and liquidity. This leads to more opportunities to capitalize.

The great thing about futures is the ability to trade after hours. Make sure you can identify and trade evening star patterns. Candlesticks and patterns are super important. As a result, if you know how to find and trade them, you can trade Futures any time of day. And with success!

Futures Trading Hours /ES Example

Futures Trading Hours Chart

This is a weekly chart of /ES. Notice the Fibonacci retracement levels. In this example, the price currently trades at the 100% level. It’s at the top of a rising wedge pattern, showing the near resistance, and might be looking to pull back. It’s important to map out important support and resistance levels on the large time frames before zooming in on the charts and day trading futures.

Equity Indices

United States equity index futures trade around the clock, with a one-hour and fifteen-minute break each day. Understanding the best equity means understanding two separate trading sessions. The morning overlap is session one, and the U.S. going into the close is session two.

Morning Overlap Session all CST:

  • 8:30 AM – the markets open for U.S. session trading
  • 10:30 AM – European equity markets closed for trading
  • 8:30 – 10:30 AM is the most liquid session and is called the U.S. and EUR “overlap.” this can extend to noon daily.
  • European traders will close their positions, forcing an increase in the volume.

Afternoon Closing Session:

  • 1:00 PM – institutional/professional trading volume picks up
  • 3:00 PM – market on close orders are processed (MOCs), and the U.S. closes officially
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM is the most liquid part of the afternoon as professional traders balance their books into the close, the last 20 minutes or so into 3:00 PM, the highest volume

Evening Hours

For night owls, there is an evening session with decent volume and opportunity when the London session overlaps with the Asian session, from 1:00 AM. If news is out of Asian markets, such as China, volume will increase. Please take our futures trading course to learn how to trade during evening hours.

Futures /CL Chart

Futures Trading Hours Example

This is a weekly chart example of /CL. Notice that price is currently trading at the 23.6% fibonnaci retracement level and is forming a base. It’s possible that it might be forming a double bottom pattern. Also a potential following wedge. If price reverses and goes bullish then look for resistance between $90-$100.

Energy Indices

Energy has a similar overlap and closing pattern of high volatility. Understanding how sectors and indices work is important, especially if you buy and sell during the day.

Energy Overlap and US Closing:

  • CL opens its “pit session” at 8 AM CST
  • European trading closes at 10:30 AM CST
  • Most liquid, between 8:00 AM and 10:30 AM
  • The pit session closes at 1:30 PM CST; floor trading stops for the day
  • Best trading is the last hour between 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM CST when institution positions are closed

Benefits of Trading Futures Overnight

1. Access to Global Markets

Trading futures overnight allows traders to trade in different markets in different time zones worldwide. The world is truly at your fingertips. More importantly, this can give you the advantage over others still in bed as you’re the first to hear about news and events in other regions. Why is this important? For starters, geopolitical developments or economic announcements can significantly impact the market. For example, awake traders can react immediately if important news comes from Asia or Europe overnight.

2. Volatility and Liquidity

As you know, volatility and liquidity are the bread and butter for day traders—or, in this case, “night traders.” Overnight futures markets can differ in volatility and liquidity compared to regular trading hours. For example, low trading volume through the night can sometimes cause increased price movements. As you know, large price movements can be opportunities to make money. Traders with the knowledge and expertise to handle market gaps and volatility can make a pretty penny during these hours.

3. Reduced Competition

Because other traders are in Slumberland, you can execute your trades with less slippage and tighter bid-ask spreads. Try it out; you never know if overnight futures trading is the pivot you need. 

4. First to React to the News

Overnight futures trading allows traders to take any overnight news and events and use them to their advantage. Traders can react quickly to market-moving information by monitoring global news and economic releases outside regular trading hours. This could help them take advantage of price movements during overnight sessions.

6. Risks of Overnight Futures Trading

It’s important to note that trading during overnight hours also carries certain risks. Lower liquidity, wider bid-ask spreads, and potentially higher volatility are a double-edged sword. For those inexperienced with these conditions, you could find yourself quickly blowing up your account. However, you can easily prevent this scenario if you take the time to educate yourself, practice in simulators, and learn from the best.

5. Diversification of Trading Strategies

Some traders use specific overnight strategies better suited to nighttime market conditions. For example, mean-reversion or trend-following strategies may work differently during overnight sessions compared to regular trading hours. By diversifying their trading strategies across different timeframes, traders can capitalize on a broader range of market movements.

Final Thoughts: Futures Trading Hours

Volume means more opportunity. Make sure to be in the market when it’s best. Therefore, keep that in mind when trading. Never put too much at risk, and as always, we wish you the best of luck with your trades.

Frequently Asked Questions

Futures can be traded almost 24 hours per day. There are short pauses but traders can trade them any time, day or night. The most popular traded hours are 9:00am to 4 pm est. 

Dow futures trading hours are from 6 pm to 5 pm EST.

Futures may have a modified trading session on the day of the holiday. It's important to check the schedule and product that you're looking to trade.

Futures markets are able to be traded virtually 24 hours a day, 6 days per week. Each futures product has their own times to trade.

E-mini S&P 500 futures markets are open from 6:00 pm EST to 5:00 pm EST and trade on the CME Globex platform.

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