The New York Stock Exchange first established regular trading hours in 1871, when it began its auction system of matching orders to buy or sell stocks. Before then, trading was done in separate morning and afternoon sessions. In 1887, the trading day was set at 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closing was extended, and opening moved up until 1985, when the present 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. schedule was set. Now, however, there are options to trade before and after those hours.
The New York Stock Exchange now is NYSE Euronext, with a merger of New York and European markets and subsequent acquisition of the American Stock Exchange and some regional exchanges. NYSE and Amex trading is done in New York from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, except holidays. Euronext markets are open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. European time.
An electronic trading system, NYSE Arca, operates from 4 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 4 to 8 p.m. New York time to match buy and sell orders. These "crossing" sessions execute only orders that match, in which a seller and a buyer have orders for a stock at the same price. The first extra sessions began in 1991 and were extended to the present hours in 2004.
Both the NYSE and its Euronext division close early on the day before July Fourth, the Friday after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. They observe the same traditional holidays: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
NYSE Arca follows the same holiday schedule. However, it continues its after-hours operations on days when the NYSE closes early. On days the NYSE floor closes at 1 p.m., crossing session order entry begins at 1 p.m. These are executed until 1:30 p.m. Trades executed during these extended hours are based on the 4 p.m. closing prices. Orders whose prices don't match are referred to the trading floor.
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