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.

  1. Limit Order

    An order placed with a brokerage to buy or sell a set number ...
  2. Electronic Communication Network ...

    An electronic system that attempts to eliminate the role of a ...
  3. At Limit

    An order that sets a maximum limit on the buy price and/or a ...
  4. Intraday

    Another way of saying "within the day". Intraday price movements ...
  5. After-Hours Trading - AHT

    Trading after regular trading hours on the major exchanges. The ...
  6. Market Maker

    A broker-dealer firm that accepts the risk of holding a certain ...
Related Articles
  1. Investing Basics

    Principal Trading and Agency Trading

    Ever wonder what happens behind the scenes when you buy or sell a stock? Read on and find out!
  2. Investing Basics

    Understanding Order Execution

    Find out the various ways in which a broker can fill an order, which can affect costs.
  3. Retirement

    Electronic Trading Tutorial

    Learn about the systems that run the market. Topics include market makers, specialists, SuperDOT, ECNs, SOES, Level I, II, and III Access, and more.
  4. Investing Basics

    3 Key Signs Of A Market Top

    When stocks rise or fall, the financial fate of investors change, as well. There are certain signs that can reveal a stock’s course, and investors don’t need to be experts to spot them.
  5. Investing

    Asset Manager Ethics: Rules Governing Capital Markets

    The integrity of the capital markets needs to be kept at utmost importance for all investors. This article shows how to maintain the integrity while investing.
  6. Investing News

    Understand the SEC Rules on Equity Crowdfunding

    The SEC's adoption of equity crowdfunding rules, initiated under the JOBS Act, enables small investors to invest in companies that show early potential.
  7. Investing Basics

    Tax-Efficient Strategies For International Clients

    In a globalized world, international clients seek to diversify holdings by accessing U.S. markets. Creative strategies will help optimize tax positioning.
  8. Investing Basics

    What Happens in a Haircut?

    One meaning of haircut is the difference between prices at which a market maker can buy and sell a security.
  9. Investing Basics

    Understanding the Spot Market

    A spot market is a market where a commodity or security is bought or sold and then delivered immediately.
  10. Investing Basics

    Learn About the New York Stock Exchange

    The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is nicknamed the “Big Board,” and for good reason. It’s the largest, oldest and best-known stock exchange in the world.
  1. Where can I find information about pre- and after-hours trading on the NYSE and the ...

    The stock market, particularly the NYSE and Nasdaq, is traditionally open between 9:30am and 4pm EST. Over time, with the ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How can my stock's price change after hours, and what effect does this have on investors? ...

    Most investors know that the major stock exchanges have standard trading hours - set periods of time each day when trading ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why would a corporation issue convertible bonds?

    A convertible bond represents a hybrid security that has bond and equity features; this type of bond allows the conversion ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the difference between shares outstanding and floating stock?

    Shares outstanding and floating stock are different measures of the shares of a particular stock. Shares outstanding is the ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What is the difference between market risk premium and equity risk premium?

    The only meaningful difference between market-risk premium and equity-risk premium is scope. Both terms refer to the same ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between the QQQ ETF and other indexes?

    QQQ, previously QQQQ, is unlike indexes because it is an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that tracks the Nasdaq 100 Index. The ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  2. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  3. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  4. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  5. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  6. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!