Stephen Foley: Why can’t exchanges stay open all night?


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The Independent Online

US Outlook It is time to mothball the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange. That ring-a-ling-a-ding might be iconic of American capitalism, but the opening hours of US exchanges are starting to look anachronistic in an age of 24-hour connectivity.

Steven Quirk of the retail brokerage TD Ameritrate startled the audience at a derivatives industry event this week by saying that the numbers of night owls trading from their laptops or tablets between 2am and 6am has increased by 60 per cent in the past six months. Joe Guinan, founder of Advantage Futures, said he has had to employ after-hours compliance officers to monitor a surge in trading, too.

Because the NYSE and its rival Nasdaq close overnight, these trading addicts are not buying and selling shares, but rather index futures and currencies. It is only a matter of time until the equity exchanges realise what they are missing out on.

In times of yore, the NYSE would have had a revolt on its hands if it suggested that floor traders work through the night, but the shift to electronic trading has eroded the case for limited trading hours. The exchanges ought to ring their opening bell one more time – and then stay open.