When Does the Stock Market Have a Holiday?
Money never sleeps, but stock market operators do. Some very active stockbrokers as well as investors are known to get by with just a few hours of sleep, and there are a few financial exchanges that operate around the clock, but Wall Street has an operating schedule that reflect some realities of the market. Whereas the foreign exchange (forex) market operates on a 24-hour basis with a break from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening, the cryptocurrency markets never close because blockchain networks never stop running.
The most prominent stock exchanges in the world, the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq, stick to a schedule that as of 2019 features 252 trading days over 12 months. Interest rate instruments such as Treasury bills get five more trading days in a year, but stocks, commodities, and derivatives can be actively traded for a little less than 70% of the year.
Wall Street starts trading at 9:30 in the morning from Monday through Friday, and the closing bell rings at 4:00 pm Eastern Standard Time. Quite a few traders around the world keep the same hours as Wall Street; in Australia, a country that is 17 hours ahead of the New York time zone, traders and investors who have positions the market are active while their families are sleeping. As for holidays when the NYSE and Nasdaq do not operate or else modify their trading sessions, this is how the situation will play out in the year 2020:
New Year’s Day
Wall Street will not open during the first day of the new decade.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
On January 20, traders will observe the MLK holiday.
The birthday of George Washington, first President of United States, is celebrated on February 17, a day when the NYSE and the Nasdaq do not operate.
This religious holiday will fall on April 10 in 2020, and the markets will take a break.
This is the day when Americans remember their war dead, and it will fall on Monday, May 25 in 2020.
The patriotic Fourth of July holiday will fall on Saturday in 2020, which means that Wall Street will close on Friday 3.
Whereas most of the world celebrates Labor Day on the first day of May, the United States and Canada do so on the first Monday of September, which also represents the end of summer and the first day of fall. In 2020, Wall Street will close on September 7 to observe Labor Day.
Wall Street will operate until 1:00 pm EST on Thursday, November 26, 2020. For Black Friday, a similar short trading session will be followed.
Wall Street will operate until 1:00 pm EST on Thursday, December 24, 2020, and will be closed on December 25.
Although the days listed above are known as “bank holidays,” it should be noted that Wall Street operates as usual during Columbus Day. The same goes for Veterans Day, but some investors, brokers, and traders who served in the U.S. Armed Forces are known to get together on that day to sneak a beer during the trading session.
Many investors take advantage of Wall Street holidays to get some of their affairs in order. If they need to send funds to partners overseas, for example, they may find themselves filling out a money order or setting up a wire transfer; the advantage in this regard is that money transmitters do not necessarily stop operating when Wall Street does. Even though money orders are not as widely used as they used to be years ago, some banks in the Caribbean still work with these funding instruments; plus, they are a good way to make cash portable up to $1,000.
In the past, Wall Street used to observe more holidays. These days, investors also have the option of getting into after-hours trading, thereby extending their trading sessions after the bell rings in the afternoon. For the most part, Wall Street exchange operators and major brokerage houses welcome the holidays; even if they have to engage in money management and administrative work during these days off, it is nice to take a break from CNBC and the stock ticker.