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What Time Does Options Trading Stop?

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 4/20/2023 5 min read

What time options trading stops is more complicated than it may seem…

Just like stocks, options have regular trading hours. Unlike stocks, options also have expiration times.

Your broker has the final say on trading hours. That’s especially true in this age of 24-hour trading.

More important is the expiration time for options. An options contract either be AM-settled or PM-settled — and this can make a big difference!

In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about stock options market hours — when they operate, when they close, and notable exceptions. I’ll also break down the timing of option expirations. Read on to learn more!

Are you a new option trader? Check out my guides to options trading basics and how options work.

Operating Hours of US Stock Exchanges

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Regular trading sessions for U.S. stock exchanges are 9.30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern, Monday to Friday. Some options allow trading until 4.15 p.m. Eastern.

Still other options now trade around the clock. The Cboe Options Exchange has extended global trading hours for SPX and XSP index options to nearly 24 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Always check with your broker to see exactly what they allow.

The two major U.S. stock exchanges are Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Both have regular options trading hours from 9.30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern on business days.

If you’re an option holder in another time zone, here’s a quick reference table:

US Stock Exchange Holidays

The NYSE and Nasdaq observe several bank holidays. On these holidays, the market is closed.

Here’s a list of stock exchange holidays:

The days before Independence Day and Christmas are half days if they fall on a regular trading day. The day after Thanksgiving, which is always a Friday, is always a half day.

On half days, the market closes at 1 p.m. Eastern (1.15 p.m. for selected options).

Expiration Times

Expiration times always fall within regular trading hours.

There are two types of option expiration: AM-settled and PM-settled. Here’s a breakdown of how they’re different and when to exercise the contract.

  • AM-settled options contracts expire at 11.59 a.m. Eastern, mostly on Saturdays. This means the last chance to trade AM-settled options is by market close on the preceding Friday.
  • PM-settled options contracts expire at the end of market hours on their expiration date. Most PM-settled stock options expire at 4 p.m. Eastern. Certain options — mostly indexes and select ETFs — expire at 4.15 p.m.

If you don’t exercise or trade an option before its expiration time, you’ll lose your premium along with any right to exercise the option.

Exception for Cash-Settled Indices

There is an exception on the later expiration time for certain cash-settled indices. These five indices all expire at 4 p.m. Eastern:

  • NDX (Nasdaq-100)
  • RUT (Russell 2000 Index)
  • SPX (S&P 500)
  • OEX (S&P 100)
  • XEO (XEO S&P 100 Index European)

What Time Does Equity and ETF Options Trading Stop in the US?

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Equity options trading in the U.S. stops at 4 p.m. Eastern.

Certain broad-based ETF options have extended-hours trading and stop trading at 4.15 p.m. Eastern.

There are some of the broad-based ETFs with extended trading hours:

  • DBA (Invesco DB Agriculture Fund)
  • EFA (iShares MSCI EAFE ETF)
  • KRE (SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF)
  • MDY (SPDR S&P MidCap 400 ETF)
  • SLX (VanEck Steel ETF)
  • XME (SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF)

Want to learn more about how options trading started? Read up on the history of options trading.

Learning from experienced traders is one of the best ways to learn all of the rules.

If you’re searching for a mentorship program, check out my former student Mark Croock’s Evolved Trader. He’s taken my penny stock strategies and applied them to options trading — making $3.9 million in career earnings in the process!

Here’s a sneak peek of Mark’s curriculum:

Sign up for the Evolved Trader program today and start your journey towards becoming a self-sufficient options trader!

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Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (888) 878-3621 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”