Extended Hours Trading

Extended Hours Overview

Schwab offers extended hours trading sessions before and after regular U.S. market hours of 9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m. (U.S. ET). Additionally, 24/5 trading of select securities is available exclusively on thinkorswim® platforms.

Pre-market trading session

Orders can be placed between 8:05 p.m. (previous trading day) and 9:25 a.m. (U.S. ET) and will be eligible for execution between 7:00 a.m. and 9:25 a.m. (U.S. ET). 

After-hours trading session

Orders can be placed and are eligible for execution between 4:05 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. (U.S. ET).

Overnight trading session

Overnight trading session (EXTO) orders are 24-hour continuous orders that expire at 8:00 p.m. (U.S. ET) every market day. Overnight trading sessions are available for select securities and exclusively on thinkorswim platforms. This is in addition to pre-market and after-hours trading sessions available on thinkorswim. Learn more about all our trading platforms, including thinkorswim.

Potential benefits of extended hours trading

Access

Extended hours trading provides additional access and flexibility for you to place trades outside of regular U.S. market hours. 

Ability to react to news events

Many companies release earnings after the close of the regular session. After-hours traders can immediately place trades to manage their positions without having to wait until the next day's open and potentially miss meaningful price swings. 

Potential risks of extended hours trading

Variable or lower liquidity

Because generally fewer shares trade after hours, there can be wide spreads between the bid (the highest price offered by all buyers) and the ask (the lowest price offered by all sellers). Some stocks may simply not trade after hours. In an overnight trading session, low liquidity or volume spikes may occur in either direction. 

Uncertain prices

In a regular U.S. session, the quotes you see are consolidated and represent the best available prices across all trading venues. In extended hours trading sessions, you may only see prices from one venue, and these may not reflect the prices displayed in other electronic trading systems for the same security. There may also be one or more foreign markets opening or closing at any time during the session, which can have a short-term influence on pricing.

Lack of calculation of index values

For trades of certain index-based products, the underlying index values are not calculated by the broader market in the extended hours trading sessions.  

Regular market vs. extended hours sessions for equities

  • Regular market hours trading sessions
  • Pre-market, after-hours, and overnight trading sessions
  • Orders can be placed at any time and will only be executed from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (U.S. ET).
  • Orders in extended hours can be placed outside of regular U.S. market hours (9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. U.S. ET) and are available for the following times: 

    For orders placed on thinkorswim platforms: 

    7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (U.S. ET) with five-minute closures before and after regular U.S. market hours. 

    Overnight trading is available 24 hours a day, every market day, by choosing an EXTO order type. EXTO orders expire at 8:00 p.m. (U.S. ET) each day. For example, an EXTO order placed at 2:00 a.m. (U.S. ET) Monday morning would be active immediately and remain active from then until 8:00 p.m. (U.S. ET) Monday night. A trade placed at 9:00 p.m. (U.S. ET) Monday night would be active immediately and remain active until 8:00 p.m. (U.S. ET) Tuesday night. 

    For orders placed on the Schwab website or Schwab Mobile: 

    7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (U.S. ET) with five-minute closures before and after regular U.S. market hours.
  • Trading occurs on exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Nasdaq and through a variety of venues, including market makers and other market centers.
  • Similar to regular market sessions, trading occurs on exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq and through a variety of venues, including market makers and other market centers.
  • Many order types and conditions are accepted. Including: market, limit, stop-limit, all-or-none, etc.
  • Only limit orders are accepted.
  • Generally, all order sizes are accepted.
  • For pre-market and after hours trading sessions on Schwab.com, there is no maximum quantity on a single order.

    For an overnight trading session, 50,000 shares, or a notional value of US$10 million dollars, is the maximum quantity on a single order.
  • Many security types are available. Including: stocks, options, bonds, mutual funds, etc.
  • Most listed and Nasdaq stocks and ETFs are available in pre-market and after-hours sessions. 

    The overnight trading session is available for select securities and exclusively on thinkorswim platforms. (Currently available securities are listed in the "24 Hour Trading" watchlist.)
  • Different timing choices are available. Including: Day, GTC, IOC, and FOK.
  • Pre-market, after-hours, and overnight session order types are only good for the particular session in which they are placed. Seamless orders that participate in pre-market, regular market, and after-hours trading are available to be placed GTC. 

    Note that GTC EXTO must be chosen to place overnight trading in thinkorswim trading platforms.
  • In general, higher-volume trading activity means more liquidity and a greater likelihood of order execution.
  • Lower volume trading activity may result in lower likelihood of order execution, plus wider spreads and greater price fluctuation.
  • The quotes you receive are consolidated and represent the best available prices across all trading venues. Market makers work to ensure fair market pricing so that customers get the best available buy or sell prices.
  • Quotes and fills are not consolidated and represent the current prices available through the market. As a participant in the extended hours trading network, the market may also offer access to prices available in other participating markets but not necessarily all venues open for extended hours trading. Best execution is not guaranteed.

Finding extended hours quotes

It's important to note that an extended hours quote is different from a regular market quote. One significant difference is that there is currently no accurate trade volume available for extended hours trading on Schwab.com. Extended hours quotes reflect the best bid and ask orders currently available.

On Schwab.com, an extended hours quote can be accessed by clients using the Quick Quote feature that appears at the bottom of the page while logged in.

In thinkorswim, the last trade price is not displayed for an EXTO session, but mark, bid, ask, size, and level-2 quotes are displayed.

You can view and monitor the securities eligible for overnight trading in thinkorswim using Watchlist. Open the Watchlist menu, select "Public," then select "24 Hour Trading" to load the symbol list.
 

Frequently asked questions about extended hours trading

Because of limited trading activity in the extended hours, the difference, or spread, between available buy and sell orders is likely to be greater than during regular U.S. market hours. Higher spreads often result in more volatile prices. But remember, when you place an extended hours limit order, although there is no guarantee your order will be filled, you are ensured your limit order price or better if your order is executed. Trading after normal U.S. market hours comes with unique and additional risks, such as lower liquidity and higher price volatility. Your order may only be partially executed or not at all.

Currently, most listed securities are available for extended hours trading through Schwab. However, during any given extended hours session, certain securities may not trade due to a lack of trading interest.

The overnight trading session in thinkorswim is limited to a select number of securities. You can view and monitor the securities eligible for overnight trading in thinkorswim using Watchlist. Open the Watchlist menu, select "Public," then select "24 Hour Trading" to load the symbol list.

Both limited trading activity and orders placed ahead of yours may reduce the likelihood of your order being filled. Remember, extended hours orders are only executed when there is a matching buy or sell order in the system. If there is no matching buy or sell order at your limit order price, your order will not be executed. It's important to note that orders filled in an overnight trading session will be immediately visible in thinkorswim, but you may see a delay in viewing them in your Schwab website transaction history.

Yes, the extended hours session functions independently from the regular U.S. market session. Orders for the regular market can be placed any time before, during, or after the extended hours sessions. Clients should select the appropriate order timing based on which trading session they want.

Extended hours trading sessions are completely independent from the regular trading sessions, and you must specify which type of trading session (regular or extended) you intend for your order.

Equity orders placed during regular hours using "Day + Extended" on the Schwab website will carry over into that day's extended hours session. Stop orders will not be eligible for execution during an extended hours session.  

Extended hours orders must be placed during an extended hours trading session on the Schwab website, Schwab Mobile, thinkorswim, or by contacting Schwab and asking for an extended hours trading representative.

The overnight trading session is available exclusively on thinkorswim trading platforms. Log in to thinkorswim and select EXT (pre-market and after-market) or EXTO (extended overnight trading) to place an overnight trading session order. Only select securities qualify for an extended hours overnight session. Please make sure to specify EXT or EXTO when placing the order.

To view all securities eligible for overnight trading, open the Watchlist menu, select "Public," then select "24 Hour Trading" to load the symbol list.

You can contact us and ask for an after-hours trading representative.

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