A Startup Wants to Open a 24-Hours-a-Day, 7-Days-a-Week Stock Market

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You know when it’s 2 a.m. and you get a hankering for Domino’s? Not the pizza, the stock.

If you fit that strange but growing demographic, you’re in luck. Startup trading platform 24 Exchange announced Tuesday that it has applied to the SEC to launch a U.S. stock exchange that’s open all day, every day. Even on Christmas.

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In keeping with the working hours of Wall Street professionals, almost all U.S. stock trading has long taken place between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. eastern time on weekdays only, and never on holidays.

But 24 Exchange wants to open an exchange that, like cryptocurrency markets or Denny’s, never closes. It’s designed to reflect the way retail investing has upended the market:

  • In June, retail investors — who trade on their own time, whether outside of or during work hours — bought $28 billion in stocks and exchange-traded funds, the most in any month since 2014.
  • Over 10 million new brokerage accounts were opened in the first half of 2021, the same amount as there were in all of 2020.

Bad Timing: Investors can currently trade as early as 4 a.m. or as late as 8 p.m. ET through the New York Stock Exchange’s pre-market and post-market sessions. But because there’s less money changing hands, those sessions suffer from serious price volatility — and experts say 24 Exchange could face the same issues. “Personally I would love it if there was 24-hour trading,” Georgetown finance professor James Angel told The Wall Street Journal. “But I doubt there will be much liquidity.”

Piece of the Pie: 24 Exchange is also asking the SEC — which likely won’t reach a decision on its application until next year — if its exchange can allow fractional trading, or the trade of fragments of stocks as little as 1/1000th of a share. Now try asking Domino’s for a 1/1000th slice of pizza.

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