The term regular trading hours refers to the standard stock exchange hours of operation, which are between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. While investors can also trade in the after-hours market and pre-market, the largest numbers of shares are exchanged during normal hours.
Investors have the option of completing trades during regular hours, after-hours and during pre-market; the latter two are also referred to as extended hours. Prior to the advent of electronic communications networks (ECN), investors were limited to trading during regular hours, which are between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST).
While companies oftentimes release new information after or before regular hours, trading during the market's normal hours of operation provides investors with several advantages, including: