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Trading futures off-hours

Question for the community - do you trade off-hours from the market? If so, what market do you trade and why?

I generally try to stick to the ES or NQ but my mornings have been filling up with work (terrible, I know). So I’ve been trying to do pre-market and post-market trading but I don’t see a ton of volatility, especially in the ES, pre- and post-market. Any feedback or thoughts are appreciated.

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You have to trade Futures in time zones that meet your work schedule. At night, it could be very volatile, and during the day, it just consolidates. There are times night-time trading activity is relatively low, but all and all, as long as you trade liquid markets, you should not feel you are missing out on anything. Again, volatility can shift between one zone and another, so even the 9:30 trading crowd can come to some “boring sessions.”

General rules:

  1. Find a timezone that works for you
  2. Understand the intraday price movements and trends of the time zone you are trading
  3. Build your strategy to capture those movements

Night trading (or pre market open) allows you to trade when there are comparatively fewer people trading their secs and mins. While you may be alone during this time, the transactions that occur at night tend to be liquid enough for active trading.

I hope this helps.

Matt Z
Optimus Futures

There is a substantial risk of loss in futures trading. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

On ES, I find there are 4 distinct sessions. All times in GMT.

Regular trading (1430-2115)
US Evening (2130-0100)
Asia (0100-0800)
Europe (0800-1430)

Sometimes markets will be dead, sometimes the market will pick up a trend and head for a region of stops, or to bring the market into a new area for the next RTH session. So it is 50/50 whether there is anything tradeable. The most volume seems to be traded around the open and close of each “session”, plus 0900 when US Equities open.

The most volatile time in my experience is often the Weekly open on Sunday at 2300. Often there is extremely thin liquidity, plus a lot of market orders in the first 5 minutes can make for some large moves.

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Thanks for the feedback! I’ve been trying to watch and get to know the 6A and 6J markets a little. As you stated Matt, there can be volatility but changing my timeframe to a higher min per candle is beneficial. No need to do short time frame candles!

@autobahn - Good point! I try to watch when other markets open and hit their busiest time, it just depends on the day and life. When you say Sunday at 2300, what time zone are you referring too? Greenwich Mean?

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Yes, GMT. Excluding adjustment for summer time.