Crypto markets inspire New York Stock Exchange 24/7 trading plan

The New York Stock Exchange is reportedly polling traders to see if they want to open trading up 24 hours a day, seven days a week, similar to cryptocurrency and forex markets.

Leading the charge on the proposed change is infamous hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, who is attempting to open up his own exchange called 24 Exchange, which currently has tradeable markets out of Bermuda.

Last year, 24 Exchange discontinued trading in crypto products and gave up on a bid to open up trading of US equities but it’s restarting the process now.

The current move wouldn’t be the first time that the NYSE has considered plans to become a 24/7 trading venue. Indeed, in 1990 John Phelan Jr., chairman of the NYSE, proposed a plan to ensure markets were never closed.

At the time, the reasoning was that the NYSE was losing market share to foreign markets like the London Stock Exchange. The proposal would’ve brought 24-hour trading to the NYSE trading floor by 2000, but nothing ever materialized.

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A new paradigm: Hustle more

There are, of course, benefits to having markets open 24 hours a day. Currently, if news breaks about a company late on a Friday evening — positive or negative — market participants need to wait until early Monday morning to trade based on the news. With a 24/7 market, price discovery would occur sooner — though it’s unclear if weekend movements would be less liquid and therefore more volatile.

Currently, many brokers offer pre-market and after-market trading to customers. This means that shares are tradeable in the hours before the New York Stock Exchange officially rings the opening and closing bells, but these markets are almost always meaningfully less liquid than during ‘open’ trading hours.

What a 24/7 market is sure to accomplish is less time off for executives and traders who will need to always be abreast of market direction, breaking news, and regulatory filings, and more profit for market makers and high-frequency traders, as their roles grow outsized in thinner weekend markets.

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