Stock exchanges are centralized locations where investors can buy and sell securities that are put up for trading by corporations and governments. This includes stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), derivatives, commodities, and other financial instruments. Exchanges allow trading to take place in a centralized location in a fair and transparent manner.
All trading activity takes place physically at the exchange or online during the trading day. The term trading day refers to the amount of time buying and selling takes place between investors on a stock exchange on any given business day. When trading ends, all activity ceases at the exchange until the beginning of the very next business day.
Just like any other business, the stock market also takes holidays. This means no activity takes place during regular business hours. The holiday schedule depends on where the exchange is actually located. We've highlighted the major holidays for exchanges in the U.S., foreign markets, and other financial markets below.
- Trading activity takes place in U.S. markets Monday to Friday but are subject to holiday schedules.
- The NYSE and Nasdaq generally follow the federal government’s holiday schedule for closings but remain open on Veterans Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
- The bond market exchanges closely follow the federal government holiday schedule, including being closed on Veterans Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
- Trading hours and holidays may be different for foreign markets.
- There are trends for trading days before and after holidays, such as the S&P 500’s tendency to post a loss on the last trading day of the year.
All major stock exchanges in the United States are open for trading during the week between normal business hours. U.S. markets operate from Monday to Friday. Trading begins at 9:30 a.m. with the ringing of the opening bell and ends at 4 p.m. once the closing bell goes off. Trading does not take place on weekends.
Both the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Nasdaq, as well as other smaller exchanges, operate on very similar schedules to the U.S. federal government—although there are a few minor exceptions. The full schedule for the 2022 trading year is listed below.
Trading hours may be different in certain parts of the world. Trading begins as early as 8 a.m. in some parts of the world and can end as late as 5 p.m. local time.
There are certain holidays that foreign stock markets share with those in the United States. This includes major holidays like Easter, Christmas, and New Year's Day. But not all schedules are the same. Investors and traders with positions in foreign stocks need to keep in mind that not all countries have the same holidays.
Foreign stock exchanges may, in fact, continue to trade on days that the U.S. markets are closed and vice versa. For instance:
- Canadian stock exchanges run on U.S. Thanksgiving, which falls on the fourth Thursday in November. But these markets are closed for Canadian Thanksgiving, which falls on the second Monday every October.
- Certain markets are closed on Boxing Day, which is the day after Christmas. This includes those in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
- Markets are closed in the United Kingdom for a Bank Holiday and in Oslo on Ascension Day.
- Indian markets are closed on Republic Day (January 26), Independence Day (August 15), Id-Ul-Fitr, and Diwali.
Markets are normally on the preceding Friday if a holiday falls on a Friday and the following Monday if it occurs on a Sunday.
Other Financial Markets
Holiday closures of the U.S. bond markets are more loosely governed and tend to follow the recommendations of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA).
Although they tend to follow the schedule for equity exchanges in the U.S. listed above, the bond market is also closed on Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Veterans Day as per SIFMA recommendations.
The Cboe Options Exchange is another popular market for options traders who focus on equities, indexes, and interest rates. This exchange generally follows the trading schedule of major U.S. stock markets. Trading sessions tend to close early the day before a holiday, too.
The end of the trading day means all physical trading activity halts. Electronic trading may continue to take place during after-hours or extended-hours trading.
Trading Activity Around Holidays
Seasonality often plays a part in any investor's trading strategy. Some holidays in the U.S. market provide periods of decreased trading volumes, as many investors and traders are busy with vacations and family plans. There tends to be little business news released right before a holiday, too.
The S&P 500 tends to trade at a loss on the last trading day of the year and gains on the first day of the new year. Trading days before and after January 1 can be affected by tax gain/loss harvesting and portfolio rebalancing.
Sometimes the pattern is reversed, with advances the day before the holiday and declines the day after. There are usually gains on the Thursday before Good Friday and losses on the trading day after. President's Day tends to have losses on both days, before and after. In contrast, both Christmas and Thanksgiving see gains on both days.
What Are the Normal Stock Market Holidays?
The normal stock market holidays depend on the country where the exchange is located. For instance, common holidays include New Year's Day, Christmas, and Good Friday. Thanksgiving is a holiday in Canada and the United States, although each country celebrates them on different days. Many Commonwealth countries celebrate Boxing Day, which is the day after Christmas. Exchanges in these countries are often closed on that day, too.
Which Holidays Is the Stock Market Closed for in 2022?
U.S. stock markets are closed on the following days in 2022: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas. Markets also close early on Black Friday and Christmas Eve.
How Late Is the Stock Market Open?
U.S. markets are open each day until 4 p.m. Foreign markets may halt trading earlier or later, depending on where they are located.
Does the Stock Market Close Early Sometimes?
American equity markets close early on certain days. For instance, the equity markets close early on Black Friday and Christmas Eve. Bond markets, on the other hand, close early on the day before major holidays like Good Friday and Labor Day. They also close early on Black Friday and Christmas Eve.