Lessons from the Pros


The Futures Markets Closed Early Today

Now that summer is officially underway here in the United States after a very long winter for most of us, our minds will begin to turn to vacations.  During the winter months it seems the markets have participants who are giving their full undivided attention.  The summer months tend to be a little different.  Market participants may be taking trades, but their minds are already on vacation.  Perhaps this is the reason you often hear the phrase “Sell in May and go away until Labor Day.”

Another thing that occurs during the summer months is major holidays that have an impact on Futures market trading schedules.  Novice Futures traders rarely know about the early closing of Futures markets just prior to important holidays.  This article is about helping a trader find the holiday schedules and being aware of early closings.  Once you have read this you won’t be the trader saying, “Nobody told me the markets close early today.”

Imagine the consequences if you have a small trading account and only enough capital to day trade with and the market just stops trading while you are still in a day trade position.  Depending on the market you are trading you could literally be stuck in that position for possibly 3 days. An example would be the Livestock markets because they do not trade on Sunday nights.  Now think about the broker calling you after the market closes and informing you that your account does not have enough capital to stay in this position over the weekend.  He has just issued you a margin call.  The amount of capital required to hold an open Futures position (Margin) is much higher for overnight trades than day trades due to the risk of gaps.  Do you think the market could gap much after a 3 day weekend?

This could have all been avoided if the trader had taken a little time and studied the Futures markets they are trading.  While it is important to understand a trading strategy it is just as, if not more important to understand contract specifications, holiday and regular trading hours and capital required trading these products.

The Chicago Mercantile Group Exchange (CMEGroup) has a calendar on their website that will help you keep aware of these holidays. The link is as follows:


The Inter-Continental Exchange (ICE) also has a holiday calendar for their products:


I will reference the CMEGroup Exchange holiday schedule for the following examples.  The next major holiday in the United States will be on July 04, 2014, Independence Day.

As traders we would like to trade during trading hours that have the highest volume of the trading session.  These hours usually create more opportunities and obviously have more volume to create better liquidity.  The latter will insure our orders have a better chance of being filled at a fair price.  The trading session during the day that has the highest volume is referred to as the Regular Trading Hours (RTH).  During these hours the trading pits for a particular Futures contract are open.  Even though today the majority of volume is traded electronically the bulk of transactions occur during the RTH session.

As we discuss the holiday trading schedules you will see there are two schedules for the CMEGroup and only one for the ICE.  The CMEGroup will list the schedule for the trading floors and the CMEGroup Globex.  Since the ICE does not have trading floors there will only be one schedule for the entire Exchange.

For short term traders who need high volume to create good trading opportunities you will want to follow the schedule for the trading floors at the CMEGroup.  As a rule, if the trading floors are closed your trading should be closed as well.

For swing and longer term traders the higher volume is not so significant, helpful, but not required.  Your schedule could follow either the trading floor or the CMEGroup Globex holiday schedule.  These extra trading hours are basically there to help us reduce gap risk from the next sessions open and possibly have our profit targets executed.

Now we can review the Independence Day holiday schedule from both the trading floor and the CMEGroup Globex.  Just like Futures contracts have their own standardized contract specifications the holiday trading schedule varies from one contract to another as well.

CMEGroup Globex:

Equity Products  (Mini S&P, Nasdaq & Dow Futures)

Thursday, July 3

12:15 Central Time (CT) – Early Close

17:00 CT – Regular open for trade date Monday, July 7

Friday, July 4

12:00 CT Early close (Day and Good til Date orders are eliminated)

Sunday, July 6

17:00 CT Regular open for tr4ade date Monday, July 7

Interest Rate & FX Products

Thursday, July 3

16:00 CT – Regular Close

17:00 CT – Regular open for trade date Monday, July 7

Friday, July 4

12:00 CT – Early close (Day and Good til Date orders are eliminated)

Sunday, July 6

17:00 CT – Regular open for trade date Monday, July 7


Thursday, July 3

12:15 CT – Early close for Livestock Futures

Friday, July 4

All Livestock products closed

Sunday, July 6

All Livestock products closed

Monday, July 7

09:05 CT – Livestock market opens

All trades executed after 17:00 CT Thursday, July 3 will not be cleared until Monday, July 7.  For traders who use Day Only orders on their trading platforms these orders will automatically be canceled as of Fridays close.

The above schedule is just a sample of all the markets impacted.  I wanted you to see that each asset class has its own unique hours.  As a trader it’s your responsibility to be aware of this schedule.

Table 1 shows us the schedule for the trading floors at the CMEGroup and note the differences.


Date & Time on which noted CME Group trading floor closes early

Date on which the Chicago trading floor is closed

Independence Day

Friday, July 4

Thursday, July 3

FX, Interest Rates, Commodities close at 12:00 CT  Equity Futures close at 12:15 CT

Friday, July 4

Looking at both the CMEGroup Globex and the trading floor schedule you can see that once the trading floor closes early the volume will be very low and would not be recommended for traders to be involved with trading.

The way our data will be plotted on daily, weekly and monthly charts will be any market that opens on Thursday night, July 3 will have all prices traded between this open and Monday afternoons close on one candle for trade date Monday, July 7.

Trading is an endeavor that requires some time off on occasions due to the stresses involved.  Therefore, when a holiday comes you should take some time off from the screens.  When you come back from the holiday you will be much more relaxed and fresh.  Trading while relaxed and fresh will result in better concentration and reduce getting burned out.

That said I wish each and every one of you an enjoyable and relaxing long holiday weekend.  Please keep in mind those who have fought and those currently fighting to keep our Independence.  Freedom is not Free

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it”   Salvador Dali

-Don Dawson

DISCLAIMER This newsletter is written for educational purposes only. By no means do any of its contents recommend, advocate or urge the buying, selling or holding of any financial instrument whatsoever. Trading and Investing involves high levels of risk. The author expresses personal opinions and will not assume any responsibility whatsoever for the actions of the reader. The author may or may not have positions in Financial Instruments discussed in this newsletter. Future results can be dramatically different from the opinions expressed herein. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Reprints allowed for private reading only, for all else, please obtain permission.