DEFINITION of 'Pre-Market'

A period of trading activity that occurs before the regular market session. The pre-market trading session typically occurs between 8:00 - 9:30 A.M. EST each trading day. Many investors and traders watch the pre-market trading activity to judge the strength and direction of the market in anticipation for the regular trading session.


Pre-market trading activity generally has limited volume and liquidity, and therefore, large bid-ask spreads are common. Many retail brokers offer pre-market trading, but may limit the types of orders that can be used during the pre-market period.

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