Pre and Post Market Trading in Canada

Most Canadian investors are content to buy and sell stocks when the main North American stock markets are open. What that means is that you can buy and sell shares of companies and ETFs if they appear on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and the NASDAQ, between the hours of 9:30am to 4:00pm ET on Monday to Friday. These stock exchanges are also closed on specific holidays.

For the vast majority of investors, including those who like to passively invest using Canadian all-in-one ETFs or hold Canadian dividend stocks for the very long term, there is really no need to worry about after hours trading sessions. 

But if you subscribe to one of Canada’s best trading platforms and really enjoy the challenge of actively managing your portfolio, then you might want to familiarize yourself with pre- and post-market trading opportunities in Canada.

Which Canadian Brokers Offer Pre and Post Market Trading?

With Qtrade now offering after hours trading here are the details for our top two picks for best Canadian online brokers.

Several other Canadian brokers do offer after-hours trading, but their platforms don’t exactly make it easy to figure out.

Qtrade Adds After Hours Trading in 2022

As we recently described in our Qtrade review, these feature was just added into the Qtrade platform. Pre-market trading will be available pre-market trading from 8:30-9:30am ET and after hours trading from 4:00-5:00pm ET, and only for the US markets as of now.

Trades can only be placed by phone through an investment representative. However, Qtrade has already announced they plan to add it as an automatic feature in their online platform in the near future.

Questrade Pre-Market and After Hours Trading in 2022

Questrade not only offers the same American securities as Qtrade (on the ARCA or NASDAQ exchanges), and also has limited Canadian trading options via the Toronto Stock Exchange as well.  

Due to the aforementioned limited nature of Canadian after hours trading, it is only available for 45 minutes (4:15-5:00 PM) and the quantity must be a “standard board lot”. (This means in multiples of 100 shares).  

In order to trade after hours you must use “AUTO” as your preferred ECN and “DAY” as the duration. Your trade will automatically be a limit trade at the last price the stock or ETF was traded at. Similarly, American trades must be limit orders, but you’ll have to choose GTEM (good til extended market) at the duration.  Questrade cuts off American post-market trading at 5:30PM EST.

Check out our Questrade review for all the details on one of Canada’s low cost leaders.

AvaTrade Also Offers After Hours Trading

AvaTrade is our favoured platform if you want to do some fairly advanced stuff like foreign exchange and/or make leveraged investments using CFDs (Contract for difference). 

Due to the nature of CFDs, they do not need open stock markets in order to be traded. In investing parlance, they are considered “synthetic” contracts, in that they are man-made separately from the price of the underlying security. These CFDs allow investors to speculate using large amounts of leverage.

AvaTrade also offers 24/7 forex trading and cryptocurrency trading. No need to worry about pre market and post market trading with these assets, as their markets never “go to sleep”!

Read our recently uploaded AvaTrade review to find out everything this platform offers.

How Does Pre- and Post-Market After Hours Trading Work in Canada?

If you’re reading about after hours trading, chances are that you’re already pretty familiar with how normal stock market trading happens. You login into your brokerage account, and as long as your preferred stock exchange is open, you can buy and sell stocks using a variety of order types such as market and limit orders.

Many institutional investors wanted more however, and with certain assets (such as cryptocurrency) being open for 24/7 trading, there is increasing pressure to open up markets for bigger time windows. 

This pressure is especially pertinent when companies announce earnings after the market closes, or when geopolitical impacts alter the investing scene at an inconvenient time.

For stocks and ETFs in Canada, there is no current pre-market trading option. This isn’t due to Qtrade and Questrade – but rather is determined by security regulators. There is post market trading in Canada (also called after hours trading) on the Toronto Stock Exchange from 4:15 PM ET to 4 PM ET.

For the USA, there are more options available. Pre-market hours are from 7:00 AM ET to the opening of the market at 9:30 AM ET.  Then, after the markets close at 4 PM ET, after hours trading runs until 8:00 ET.

Personally, I’m a bit afraid of how illiquid those markets can be (resulting in unexpected surprises for new investors), so please make sure that you know how after hours trading works before you jump in with both feet! I recommend first comparing this option to some other investing options such as the ones listed on our best low risk investment guide, or the best short term investments in Canada.

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