You can trade most futures electronically almost 24 hours a day. You can trade most equity futures both through your broker at the usual New York Stock Exchange trading times and through the Chicago Board of Trade's extended Global Trading hours. Each futures group, such as agriculture or energy, has its own opening and closing times. Along with electronic trading, agricultural and energy futures still offer live pit trading Monday through Friday for investors who want to spot-trade those markets.
Each specific exchange that changes futures has its own opening and closing times.
Exploring Equity Futures
Equity futures contracts track different stock market indexes. You can trade futures contracts which attempt to predict the designated price points of a variety of high-volume indexes, including the Dow Jones mini, S&P 500 mini, NASDAQ 100 mini and the Mexican IPC. Electronic trading starts on Sunday at 6 p.m. Eastern Time and closes at 4:15 p.m. Friday.
Although there are trading breaks each weekday from 4:15 to 4:30 p.m. and from 5:30 to 6 p.m., there are also different global trading hours for various contracts that extend through the night in the U.S. For details, visit the CBOE website and search for global trading hours. You can also trade equity futures through your online broker. In short, you can trade most equity futures contracts almost anytime you're awake.
Evaluating Agricultural Futures
You can trade grains and oilseeds with agricultural futures contracts. Wheat, corn, soybeans and soybean oil are popular. Other agricultural futures contracts are oats, crude palm oil and rough rice. You also can trade mini-contracts of wheat, corn and soybeans.
Electronic trading starts at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time Sunday and closes Friday at 5:00 p.m. There is a one-hour daily trading break beginning at 5:00 p.m. Pit trading hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Understanding Energy Futures
Energy futures contracts are traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange through the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group. Along with Brent crude and light sweet crude futures contracts, you can trade natural gas, heating oil and unleaded gasoline.
Electronic trading starts Sunday at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time and closes Friday at 5:00 p.m. Trading stops every weekday for one hour beginning at 5:00 p.m. Pit trading runs Monday through Friday, starting at 9 a.m. Eastern Time and closing at 2:30 p.m.
Assessing Softs Futures
So-called softs futures contracts cover a wide variety of renewable commodities. Coffee, sugar, cocoa, cotton and frozen orange juice concentrate are traded on the Intercontinental Exchange. Lumber, milk and butter are traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group.
Electronic trading opens Sunday at 6 p.m. Eastern Time and closes Friday at 5:15 p.m. There is a daily break from 5:15 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Ryan Cockerham is a nationally recognized author specializing in all things business and finance. His work has served the business, nonprofit and political community. Ryan's work has been featured on PocketSense, Zacks Investment Research, SFGate Home Guides, Bloomberg, HuffPost and more.