One characteristic of futures trading is the ability to make trades at almost any time of the day. Commodity and post-delivery markets close at the weekend, but most futures contracts start trading on Sunday afternoon to start the week. Futures contracts cover a wide range of asset classes, from agricultural goods to energy products to stocks, and different types of goods or financial products will hold different trading hours.
General futures trading hours
Each type of futures contract – agriculture, energy, interest rates, equity, etc. – has its own trading hours, sometimes determined by the market hours of underlying products or securities. The majority of futures contracts start trading at 6 p.m. Eastern time and close Friday afternoon from 4:30 to 5 p.m. East, depending on the item. Trading will stop for 30 to 60 minutes per day at the end of the business day. During this time, the contract value is marked to put on the market and traders release their profits during the day or make any required margins.
Equity futures contracts
Equity futures contracts are futures contracts that track stock market indices. Popular equity futures contracts are S&P 500 e-mini contracts, Dow contracts of $5, $10 and $25, and Nasdaq 100 futures contracts. A total of about 40 different futures contracts track U.S. and international stock market indices. Stock futures start trading on Sunday at 6 p.m. Eastern time and closed at 4:15 p.m. East on Friday. During the week, stock futures stop trading every afternoon from 4:15 to 4:30 p.m. The East.
Energy and metals of the future
Energy futures contracts include crude oil, natural gas, gasoline and heating oil contracts. These contracts are for the delivery of several types of crude oil, but the most widely tracked are the West Texas Intermediate light sweet crude oil contracts. Metal futures contracts trade based on the value of gold, silver, copper, steel, palladium and platinum. Trading begins at 6 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday and closed at 5:15 p.m. on Friday. Energy futures stopped trading between 5:15 and 6 p.m. every day. Ethanol futures contracts are considered energy futures contracts, but scheduled trading contracts are similar to agricultural products.
Agricultural futures contracts
Agricultural futures trade on a variety of commodities, from cheese, butter and milk to feed cattle and pork from the belly to grains such as corn, wheat and soybeans. The general trading hours are 6 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday until 4 p.m. on Fridays with daily breaks from 4 to 5 p.m. Some agricultural items such as feed cattle and stomach pork start trading early at 5:15 p.m. on Sunday. Many grains only trade from 8:15 to 10:30 eastern morning time.