As an investor it is elemental to know how many trading days are in a year and when holidays impact the trading sessions. Imagine you day trade with big position sizes, and all of a sudden, the trading session ends in the middle of a day because you were unprepared and ran into a shortened trading day without knowing it.
In the U.S., we have three different types of weekdays on the stock exchanges:
- Regular session trading days
- Shortened trading days and
- Market holidays.
Their impact on the number of actual trading days varies yearly, and that’s why investors frequently ask Google how many trading days in a year, how many trading weeks in a year and how many trading days left in 2023 arise.
So, here are the answers to your most frequently asked questions.
Number of Trading Days in a Year
Trading days are the days on which stocks, bonds, commodities, futures contracts, options, and other securities are traded on exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or Nasdaq.
Number of Trading Days In 2023 In the United States (NYSE)
|📆 Trading Days 2023
|📆 Trading Days 2024
Number of Trading Weeks per Year
A calendar year has 52 calendar weeks. Mathematically, you take the calendar year with 365 days, divide it by 7 and get 52.1428571, to be more exact.
Around Christmas and New Year Holidays, the trading weeks can be relatively short due to the limited number of trading days of the week.
In addition, the end of a year is used by institutional investors for window dressing, buying and selling stocks to let their investment funds look better in terms of what stocks they picked. The overall market momentum can be relatively light. So, it’s worth considering taking off the last week of the year and the first week of the new year.
Types of Trading Days
- Regular session trading days: On those days, it is possible to execute orders during regular trading hours between 9:30 am to 4 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST). In addition, it’s possible to trade during pre-market and after hours sessions. However, the time for trading hours outside the regular trading hours depends on the offered times by your individual broker. The pre-market can start as early as 4 am EST and goes until the start of the RTH at 9:30 am EST.
- Shortened trading day: Those days are often the Friday before a regular holiday, and the trading day ends after half of the session.
- Holidays: Holidays include national holidays like Christmas Day or Thanksgiving Day, where no exchange activity occurs for that day, so those also don’t count towards the total number of trading days in a year either. During these times, no trades may take place until the markets reopen after the holiday has ended.
Calculating Trading Days
The number of trading days per year varies and depends on market holidays, plus unpredictable factors that affect market opening times.
The best way to start is by counting the trading weeks and weekdays of a particular calendar year. Weekdays are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Please write it down into a list using a spreadsheet to fully automate the calculation later on. You can also add monthly sums.
Now you list public holidays, such as New Year’s Day or Christmas Day. This way, you reduce the total trading days for the calendar year.
In addition, if you consider trading on shortened trading days, make sure to differentiate those holidays that cause the markets to be closed plus those that cause the market to have shortened trading.
However, since trading volume is exceptionally low during shortened days, it can be beneficial if those days are excluded. However, this decision is entirely up to you.
Valid Trading Days for Trading Systems
Various market news remarkably impact profitability of automated trading based systems and strategies. For example, earnings announcements often cause a stock to gap significantly. Sometimes we see a gap fill, sometimes a gap and go pattern.
Therefore, it can make sense to exclude those days from the list. Exclude the following trading day if a company announces earnings after market hours. Exclude the earnings announcement day if a company announces its earnings on the same day before market open, if your backtest results suggest to do so.
National elections, major economic reports or news that heavily impact the markets cause regular trading days to become closed markets or to reduce the number of trading hours of a day. Those days can’t be planned beforehand, at least not always. Stay informed about the latest news and read about the latest news before you start trading.
And remember, news releases from specific companies can also cause market halts and a circuit breaker. So, while the overall market might trade further, some specific stock tickers get halted and resume trading later or get suspended for trading until the end of the trading day.
For those types of trading halts, monitor the performance of a stock intraday. If a stock moves up or down sharply in seconds, it will likely get halted.
Most Volatile Trading Days in a Year
Economic news, but also institutional buying have an impact on market volatility. Typical events are:
- Institutional investors frequently use the first and last time of the month for window dressing
- Job reports on the first Friday of every month announcing the Non-Farm Payrolls
- Option expiration Friday
- Earnings announcements
- FOMC announcements, FED decisions
During such days it can make sense to sit on hands neither buying nor selling stocks or other financial assets.
Knowing the trading days in a year is important for a successful day trader. Especially awareness of shortened trading days and market news that can cause the stock to be suspended from trading is essential. In addition, knowing about the trading days helps investors identify the best day to buy stocks and focus on those days when the stock market is open.