The risks of Extended Hours trading include but are not limited to:
- Limited liquidity, Lack of Depth and Breath
Liquidity refers to the ability of market participants to buy and sell securities. Generally, the more orders that are available in a market, the greater the liquidity. Liquidity is important because with greater liquidity it is easier for investors to buy or sell securities, and as a result, investors are more likely to pay or receive a competitive price for securities purchased or sold. There may be lower liquidity in Extended Hours trading as compared to regular market hours. Only specific stocks, or groups of stocks, and other securities will be available for trading in Extended Hours sessions. Not all stocks may be traded during Extended trading sessions. Trading volume may be lighter than regular trading sessions, resulting in less liquidity for certain securities. As a result, customers may receive partial executions, or no executions at all.
- Increased Volatility
Volatility refers to the changes in price that securities undergo when trading. Generally, the higher the volatility of a security, the greater its price swings. There may be greater volatility in Extended Hours Trading than in regular market hours. As a result, your order may only be partially executed, or not at all, or you may receive an inferior price in Extended Hours Trading than you would during regular market hours.
- Inaccurate “Real-time” Quotes
Depending on the Extended Hours Trading system or the time of day, the prices displayed on a particular Extended Hours Trading system may not reflect the prices in other concurrently operating Extended Hours Trading systems dealing in the same securities. There may be multiple, unlinked after hours trading facilities trading the same security. You may receive an inferior price in one Extended Hours Trading system than you would in another Extended Hours Trading system. Accordingly, “real-time” quotes may or may not reflect the true condition of the market. As a protection, only limit orders should be used in after hours trading.
- Wider Than Normal Spreads
The spread refers to the difference in price between what you can buy a security for and what you can sell it for. Lower trading volumes and higher volatility, as well as other characteristics of Extended Hours Trading sessions, could result in wider than normal spreads. As a result, customer orders could be executed away from prices that prevailed during regular market sessions, or not be executed at all.
- Fragmentation of the Market
There may be multiple, unlinked after hours trading facilities trading the same security but operating independently of one another. Accordingly, investors may pay more or receive less for their securities purchases or sales when trading in a particular after hours trading facility in comparison to the securities primary market or other Extended Hours Trading facility.
- Impact of News Announcements
Normally, issuers make news announcements that may affect the price of their securities after regular market hours. Similarly, important financial information is frequently announced outside of regular market hours. In Extended Hours Trading, these announcements may occur during trading. The impact of news announcements immediately preceding or during an Extended Hours session could cause an exaggerated effect on the market due to fewer market participants, less liquidity, and less trading volume than during regular trading sessions. If securities have been halted during the regular trading session, such trading halts will continue to be in effect during the after-hours trading session. No trading halts will be initiated by the after-hours trading session itself during the after hours trading session.
- Risk of Changing Prices
The prices of securities traded in Extended Hours Trading may not reflect the prices either at the end of regular market hours, or upon the opening the next morning. As a result, you may receive an inferior price in Extended Hours Trading than you would during regular market hours. Understand what it means to trade on margin. While practiced by many knowledgeable investors, trading with borrowed funds may result in magnified losses, even to the point of exceeding your initial investment.
Trading may have become as easy as “point and click,” but there’s still only one way to invest. Investigate before you invest. Be informed. Invest smart.