Futures Trading Hours (and the Best Hours to Trade)

Do you know what Futures trading hours are? If you've been trading for any length of time, you know regular market hours are 9:30-4pm Monday-Friday.

But what about Futures? Are their hours different from regular market hours? The answer is yes! Which makes Futures trading great for people who work full time.

Futures Trading Hours and the Best Hours to Trade

  • Futures trading hours will 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 pretty much trade at nearly any time of the day.  Investors can trade over 70 futures products virtually 24 hours a day, 6 days a week. Each specific exchange has its own opening and closing times. However, not all hours are optimal.

1. General Futures Trading Hours

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

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

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

Click below for the specific times of each of the various futures and options that are traded in CME’s following sectors:

AGRICULTURE- https://www.cmegroup.com/trading-hours.html#agriculture

ENERGY- https://www.cmegroup.com/trading-hours.html#energy

EQUITYs- https://www.cmegroup.com/trading-hours.html#equityIndex

Equity futures can be traded through usual New York Stock Exchange trading times and the Chicago Board of Trade's extended Global Trading hours.

FOREX- https://www.cmegroup.com/trading-hours.html#fx

INTEREST RATES- https://www.cmegroup.com/trading-hours.html#interestRates

METALS- https://www.cmegroup.com/trading-hours.html#metals

REAL ESTATE- https://www.cmegroup.com/trading-hours.html#realEstate

WEATHER- https://www.cmegroup.com/trading-hours.html#weather

Futures Trading Hours

2. The Best Hours to Be Trading

When you are trading, you want to be in a position when there is more market volume and liquidity present. This leads to more opportunities to capitalize.

The great thing about Futures trading hours 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!

Equity Indices

  • United States equity index futures trade around the clock, with a one hour and fifteen minute, break each day.  Understand the best equity futures trading hours 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 12:00 PM each day.
  • European traders will close their positions forcing an increase in 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 highest volume

1. Evening Trading 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 there is news out of Asian markets, such as China volume will increase. If you want to know how to trade during evening Futures trading hours, make sure to take our trading course.

Energy Indices

  • Energy has a similar overlap and closing pattern of high volatility. It's important to understand how sectors and indices work. Especially if you're going to be buying and selling during Futures trading hours.

1. Energy Overlap and US Closing:

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

Conclusion

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

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