Sharekhan Blog

Stock Market Timings in India

  • Apr 30, 2024

India's stock markets play an important role in the growth of its economy and wealth creation for investors. But to actively participate in equity trading avenues, having a sound understanding of exact stock market timings and hours is key for traders.

This article provides useful insights into the major stock exchange operating schedules – their regular trading sessions, special extended hours, holidays and market timings' impact on participants. With retail interest in equities rising, being cognizant of timing nuances can benefit every market participant.

Importance of Understanding Market Timings for Investors and Traders

For participants in the stock market, whether they are investors or traders, having a strong grasp of trading hours and session times is extremely useful. It enables scheduling transactions during the most liquid periods, reacting to news events in a timely way and managing risks better around available timings. As equity culture expands in India, awareness of precise exchange trading schedules and hours gains more relevance.

Major Stock Exchanges in India And Their Role

The two leading stock exchanges in India are the BSE and NSE, which account for the dominant share of equity trading volumes. BSE is the older historical exchange established in 1875, while NSE commenced operations in 1994 and pioneered electronic trading. Together, they provide the vital infrastructure for trading thousands of listed stocks and derivatives contracts in a transparent, rules-based ecosystem. The average daily turnover on NSE now exceeds Rs. 60,000 crore.

Regular Trading Session

The regular equity market trading time for both BSE and NSE is from 9:15 AM to 3:30 PM, Monday through Friday. This six-and-a-half-hour time facilitates trading participation across India in a common session. It starts with a 15-minute pre-open session from 9 AM, allowing order entry to discover the opening price, which acts as the reference for the day's trading band of 4% calculated on security close prices. 

Orders can be freely placed, maintained or cancelled during market hours. While trading is closed outside these hours, investors may still place orders outside trading hours. Index derivatives trading closes at 3:30 PM while equity futures and options continue for another 45 minutes till 4:15 PM.

Special Trading Sessions

Besides the regular trading schedule, the bourses may announce trading sessions on special occasions like Budget Day, Diwali Laxmi Pujan or Muharat days and shortened sessions for holidays or annual closures. Some key examples:

  1. Trading lasted 75 minutes from 9:15 AM on Budget Day 2023, plus a special evening session of 1 hour.
  2. On Diwali Laxmi Pujan, there was no pre-open bidding. Trading was between 9:15 AM and 1:15 PM before closing for Muhurat.
  3. The day before annual closure on March 31st sees truncated 3-hour trading from 9:15 AM to 12:15 PM.

Holidays and Non-Trading Days

Stock exchanges remain closed on public holidays declared nationally or by respective states. Trading is also shut for 2-3 days on occasions like Holi, Diwali, Eid, Christmas, and Good Friday as bourses settle trades and payments. Other settlement holidays when money and securities change hands but trading is off are also announced well in advance. Members and investors are informed of such non-business closure dates. 

Extended Hours and After-Market Orders

While continuous trading lasts till 3:30 PM, exchange rules permit the execution of certain trades even in the post-close session till 4 PM on special order types like MO and LO orders to allow trades at closing rates. This helps large buyers and sellers make placements with limited price disturbance. Retail traders can also place orders outside market hours for next-day execution.

Impact of Market Timings

Understanding exact exchange trading schedules - regular sessions, extended hours, non-business days - helps market participants optimally structure both short-term trades and long-term investments. Investors also track new announcements around corporate actions like mergers, splits, and dividends that stem outside trading hours with implications of subsequent trading. For example, a buyback announcement after-hours may spur buy orders queued for next-day placement.

Getting trading times right also enables better responses to overnight news and global cues. Traders must make swift judgement calls to benefit from or limit risks around events outside Indian market hours like Federal Reserve decisions or geopolitical developments. Moreover, keeping tabs on settlement and results dates helps manage associated volatility.

The Bottom Line

Equity market participants - whether institutional investors, professional traders or increasingly involved retail investors - require familiarity with precise trading schedules on leading bourses like BSE and NSE. This aids informed transacting at optimal times, reacting to material news flow, and structuring practical long-term investment approaches while avoiding key risk events. As equity investing gains more mass appeal across India, individual awareness of exact exchange trading hours and calendars shall only improve.

Team Sharekhan
by Team Sharekhan

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