Although trading operations on financial markets are nowadays mostly performed online, traders must be familiar with the schedules of the major global sessions.
During most of the calendar year, it is standard practice for financial markets to operate from Monday to Friday, with quotes being updated while traders conduct trades. However, due to the time differences between world time zones, a trading day is conveniently classified into 4 sessions: Asian, European, American, and Pacific.
With dealing periods overlapping each other, it is quite easy to choose the trading hours that suit you best.
Schedule of Forex and Stock market trading hours. The time zone is UTC+2 (Eastern European Time, EET):
When referring to Forex or Stock markets hours, it is common practice to use the UTC time zone – the Universal Time Coordinated. The server time in RoboMarkets terminals differs from the UTC by 2 hours (UTC+2). When several countries switch to daylight saving time (DST) in spring, the difference becomes bigger (UTC+3).
The trading hours of each Stock and Forex market are characterized by the market's features and factors.
This is the first trading session in the world, as the Asian stock market is the first to open. During this trading session, securities quoted on TSE (Tokyo), SGX (Singapore) and HKSE (Hong Kong) are traded. For example, stocks of famous Japanese manufacturers of cars and electronics, such as Honda, Toyota, Canon, Casio, Sony, and others.
During the Asian trading session, trading operations involving the Japanese Yen and the Australian Dollar have the biggest volume in the foreign exchange market. The most popular instruments are USDJPY, EURJPY, AUDUSD, and NZDUSD. As a rule, volatility increases as the start of the European session approaches, but it dies down later in the day.
As a rule, this timespan is characterized by heavy price action at the beginning of the trading day, as well as after lunchtime when European traders go back to their workplaces. The trading session in Frankfurt starts at 08:00 CET, while dealings in London begin at 09:00 CET. Due to the difference between time zones, it is obvious when the Asian session draws to a close, and the European one starts.
The European session is marked by higher volatility. This stock market features such popular assets as the DAX30 index, while the Forex market offers major currency pairs.
The start of this session occurs when European traders are about to finish their working day. This means that American traders, who have just started their trading day with renewed vigour and ideas, and European traders, who are just about to end theirs, co-exist on the market during this time. Consequently, these circumstances double the effect on the Forex market. Therefore, the American session is known as the most active and aggressive one, on both the currency and stock markets.
This is the best moment for investments in the stocks quoted on NASDAQ and NYSE, which include Apple, Twitter, Amazon, and other major companies.
This session starts in Wellington at 6:00 PM UTC. At 8:00 PM UTC, Sydney joins the session. The Pacific session is the only one that overlaps all other sessions. It is characterized by moderate volatility provided no significant political and economic events are happening during this time.
Why should traders know the trading schedule?
Traders need to know the trading schedule so as to make effective use of their time on the market. The trading hours of the different exchanges are identical, but due to the time differences, trading can be conducted around the clock. This is particularly important for continuous automated trading.
In addition, exchange rates and other indicators in different periods of the same trading session may differ significantly. Each session also requires a separate strategy, so each trader must follow the trading schedule and act accordingly.
When do markets stop working?
All global markets are closed on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as on bank holidays. Also, trading schedules may be different for particular instruments. Up-to-date information regarding upcoming changes in trading schedules worldwide, due to holidays or any other reasons, can be found on the Economic Calendar page.