Similar to most companies, the major stock markets in North America are open for trading on normal business days only (Monday to Friday, except on holidays). In terms of holidays, both the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Nasdaq have very similar schedules to that of the federal government's holiday schedule with a few exceptions:
- Neither the Nasdaq nor NYSE is closed on Veterans' Day or Columbus Day (or the day in which they are observed).
- Unlike government offices, the Nasdaq and NYSE are closed on Good Friday.
Therefore, these exchanges are closed for trading on the following holidays:
- New Year's Day
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Presidents' Day (Washington's Birthday)
- Good Friday
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- Christmas Day
Foreign Stock Markets
Investors and traders with positions in foreign stocks need to keep in mind that not all countries have the same holidays and that foreign stock exchanges may continue to trade on days that the U.S. markets are closed and vice versa.
For example, since Canadian Thanksgiving day is a different day compared to the American Thanksgiving (the second Monday in October, compared with the fourth Thursday in November), all Canadian listed stocks on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) would not be trading on Canadian Thanksgiving, but would continue trading on the date the American Thanksgiving falls upon.
Other Financial Markets
The U.S. bond market exchanges holiday closings are more loosely governed, and tend to follow the recommendations of the Securities Industries and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA). But these do parallel those of the equity exchanges above, though Columbus Day and Veterans Day are included in the SIFMA recommendations.
Another market that many investors follow is the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). These also parallel the NYSE and Nasdaq holidays. Like many employers, CBOE grants an extra weekday day off if a holiday falls on a weekend. If a holiday falls on Saturday, CBOE closes the preceding Friday; if it falls on a Sunday, CBOE markets are closed the Monday after. Trading sessions tend to close early the day before a holiday, too.
Some Fun Facts
Seasonality can sometimes play a part in a trading strategy. Some holidays in the U.S. market provide periods of decreased trading volumes, as many investors, traders and other normal market participants are busy with vacations and family plans. There tends to be little business news released right before a holiday, too.
Sometimes, there's a pattern of losses the day before a holiday and rebounds the day after. For example, since 1990, the S&P 500 has averaged a loss of 0.21% on the trading day before New Year's and a gain of 0.27% on the trading day after. Trading days before and after Jan.1 can be affected by tax gain/loss harvesting and portfolio rebalancing: The end of an old year and the start of a new one are logical times to take stock, both figuratively and literally.
Sometimes the pattern is reversed, with advances the day before the holiday and declines the day after. Since 1990, advances in the S&P 500 have outpaced the declines two to one on the Thursday before Good Friday. On the trading day after, the index has averaged a loss of 0.13%.
Presidents' Day tends to have losses on both days. In contrast, both Christmas and Thanksgiving see gains on both days (even though markets often close early on the Friday after Thanksgiving).