Stocks To Trade
Oct. 30, 202314 min read

Can You Buy Options Pre-Market? All to Know

Tim BohenAvatar
Written by Tim Bohen

*Written by AI, Edited by Humans

Buying options pre-market is a topic that sparks curiosity among traders. While the stock market has pre-market sessions, options trading is generally confined to regular market hours. Understanding the nuances of pre-market options trading can help you make informed decisions and potentially capitalize on market opportunities.

In my years of trading and teaching, I’ve found that understanding market sessions and their limitations is crucial. So let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of pre-market options trading, its pros and cons, and how you can navigate this less-explored territory.

Table of Contents

What Is Pre-Market Options Trading?

Pre-market options trading is a bit of a misnomer because options are generally not available for trading in the pre-market. This period, which occurs before the stock exchanges officially open, is dominated by professionals and institutional investors. They’re the market makers in this arena, setting the tone for stock prices and trades for the day. While you can trade stocks, ETFs, and even futures in some cases, options are usually off the table. 

Brokerage accounts like Robinhood might allow some extended hours trading, but options are typically not part of the package.

Definition of Options Trading

Options trading involves buying or selling options contracts that give you the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell an underlying asset at a set price. It’s a way to hedge risk or speculate on future prices.

Overview of Pre-Market Trading

Pre-market trading refers to the trading activity that occurs before the regular market session opens. It’s a time when investors can react to news events and earnings reports that were released after the previous day’s close.

Purpose of Exploring Pre-Market Options Trading

The idea of trading options in the pre-market is to capitalize on significant price movements that occur outside of regular trading hours. However, it’s essential to note that options are generally not available for trading in the pre-market.

In my trading courses, I emphasize the importance of understanding the market sessions and their limitations. Knowing when you can and can’t trade options is crucial for effective strategy planning.

Pre-Market Trading Explained

Pre-market trading is a session that occurs before the regular markets open, typically between 4:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. ET. Unlike the money market, which is more stable, pre-market trading can be volatile. Market makers, professionals, and specialists often dominate this space, setting the tone for stock prices and trades for the day. Brokerage accounts like Robinhood offer access to pre-market trading, but be cautious of commissions and fees. The extended hours trading session allows you to react to news and events before the closing bell, but it comes with its own set of risks, including potential loss. Always consult reliable sources and data before making any investment decisions.

Definition and Time Frame

Pre-market trading typically occurs between 4:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. ET, although the exact time can vary depending on the brokerage and the specific securities being traded.

Participants and Their Motivations

Participants in pre-market trading are often institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals. They engage in pre-market trading to take advantage of price volatility following news events or earnings reports.

Risks and Benefits

Pre-market trading comes with increased risks, such as lower liquidity and wider spreads. However, it also offers the benefit of reacting quickly to news events.

In my years of trading, I’ve found that understanding the risks and benefits of different market sessions can significantly impact your trading strategy and performance.

Options Trading in the Pre-Market

Options trading in the pre-market is generally not available for the average investor. The primary exchanges like Nasdaq and other stock exchanges usually don’t support options trading before the regular market session. However, some index options and futures might be available depending on your brokerage and the specific rules of the exchange. Professionals and specialists often dominate this space, and commissions can be higher. 

If you’re considering this route, make sure you understand the risks and consult a financial representative for advice. Always check the details of your brokerage account for access to pre-market options trading.

Availability of Options in Pre-Market

Options are generally not available for trading in the pre-market. Most options can only be traded during regular market hours, although some index options can be traded during extended hours.

Factors Influencing Pre-Market Options Trading

The primary factors that influence pre-market options trading are liquidity and volatility. Due to the lower volume, options are generally not traded in the pre-market.

Specific Regulations and Restrictions

Regulations prohibit the trading of most options outside of standard market hours. However, some index options may be available depending on the brokerage and market conditions.

In my trading courses, I always stress the importance of understanding the regulations and restrictions that govern different types of trading. It’s crucial for avoiding costly mistakes.

Pros and Cons of Buying Options Pre-Market

Trading options in the pre-market comes with its pros and cons. On the upside, you get a jump on the market, potentially capitalizing on significant news events before everyone else. 

However, the risks are substantial. Liquidity is often low, and the spreads can be wide, affecting the closing price of options. Your orders might not get the best execution, and fees can eat into your profits. Given the range of factors and the lack of a guarantee, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons carefully. Always consult a financial representative and read up on articles and guides to make informed decisions.

Potential Advantages

The main advantage of trading options pre-market would be the ability to capitalize on significant news events before the broader market reacts.

Potential Disadvantages

The disadvantages include lower liquidity, wider spreads, and the general unavailability of options contracts during these hours.

Considerations for Individual Investors

For individual investors, the risks often outweigh the benefits when it comes to pre-market options trading. It’s generally not recommended unless you have a specific strategy and are aware of the associated risks.

In my experience, weighing the pros and cons of any trading strategy is essential for long-term success. Understanding the specific challenges of pre-market trading can help you make more informed decisions.

How To Buy Options in Pre-Market

Buying options in the pre-market is not straightforward and is generally not recommended for individual investors. However, if you still wish to proceed, you’ll need a brokerage account with a platform that offers this service. Companies like TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab might offer this, but it’s best to check the specifics, including commissions and fees. You’ll likely need to use limit orders, as market orders are usually not available during extended hours. Always consult professional advice and use reliable sources of information before making any trades.

Platforms and Brokers Offering Pre-Market Options

While most platforms don’t offer pre-market options trading, some may allow trading of index options. Brokerages like TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab might offer this service, but it’s best to check with your specific broker.

Steps To Execute a Trade

To execute a pre-market options trade, you would typically need to place a limit order, as market orders are not available during extended hours.

Tips and Strategies

If you’re considering trading options in the pre-market, make sure to do your research and understand the associated risks. Use limit orders to control your entry and exit points, and be aware of wider spreads.

In my years of trading, I’ve found that having a well-thought-out strategy is crucial, especially when you’re navigating less common trading sessions like the pre-market.

Key Takeaways

Understanding the limitations and opportunities of pre-market options trading is crucial for any trader. While it’s generally not available, knowing the ins and outs can help you make more informed decisions and potentially find unique opportunities.

In my years of trading and teaching, I’ve found that a deep understanding of market sessions and their limitations can give you an edge. It’s not just about the numbers; it’s about the strategy and psychology behind those numbers.

Before you even think about becoming profitable, you’ll need to build a solid foundation. That’s what I help my students do every day — scanning the market, outlining trading plans, and answering any questions that come up.

You can check out the NO-COST webinar here for a closer look at how profitable traders go about preparing for the trading day!

Do you play the pre-market? Let me know in the comments!


Can Options Be Exercised After Hours?

Options can’t generally be exercised after hours. They can only be exercised during regular market hours, although some exceptions might apply depending on the brokerage.

What Time Is Pre-Market and After-Hours Trading?

Pre-market trading typically occurs between 4:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. ET, while after-hours trading is usually from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.

Are There Any Differences Between Regular and After-Hours Trading?

Yes, there are differences, such as lower liquidity, wider spreads, and higher volatility in after-hours trading compared to regular market sessions.

What Are the Financial Instruments You Can Trade Pre-Market?

In the realm of pre-market trading, various financial instruments can be involved, from shares and bonds to crypto assets. When investing, it’s crucial to understand each security type’s demand and how your investments could respond to market events. This result can significantly impact your investment’s principal amount.

Who Participates in Pre-Market Trading?

Pre-market trading involves a variety of market participants. These can range from individual buyers and sellers to institutional customers. Each member of this ecosystem has their own unique investment goals and strategies.

What Order Types Are Useful for Pre-Market Trading?

For those interested in pre-market trading, understanding different order types can give you a competitive edge. You can choose from a variety of order types depending on the direction you expect the market to go, the quantity you wish to trade, and your response to market fluctuations. Mastering this can greatly affect the result of your trades.

What Financial Products Can Impact Pre-Market Trading?

Interest rates from various financial products like loans, credit cards, and mortgage rates can affect pre-market trading conditions. For example, if the Federal Reserve changes rates, it could affect auto loan rates, heloc, and cd rates, causing ripples in the investment landscape.

Where Can You Find Information for Pre-Market Trading?

Several online platforms provide the content, reviews, and information needed for pre-market trading. This information can often be found on a specific site or page and may be influenced by factors like privacy choices, jurisdiction, and state regulations.

What Technology is Needed for Pre-Market Trading?

To engage in pre-market trading, you’ll need a reliable laptop or computer system that can connect to Electronic Communication Networks (ECNs). These ECNs are essential as they facilitate the exchange of security orders between buyers and sellers outside of standard market times.

What Are the Business Aspects of Pre-Market Trading?

Various services and products are offered by brokerage firms to facilitate pre-market trading. These companies typically generate revenue through compensation structures and, in some cases, external funding.

How Do Work and Life Purposes Affect Pre-Market Trading?

People engage in pre-market trading for a variety of purposes. Whether you’re an early bird who prefers to work during off-market times or someone who has specific investment standards, your life situation can shape your pre-market trading strategy.

What Are the Regulatory Considerations in Pre-Market Trading?

Before engaging in pre-market trading, be aware of jurisdictional issues. The state you reside in might have specific regulations that impact your ability to trade certain shares or securities. Always make sure to review the terms and conditions, especially if the trading platform operates under a different state’s jurisdiction.

What is the Role of Communication Networks in Pre-Market Trading?

Electronic Communication Networks (ECNs) play a crucial role in facilitating pre-market trading. They allow transactions to occur between various market participants outside regular market hours. ECNs are particularly beneficial in matching buyers and sellers based on their order types and quantities.

Can You Conduct Pre-Market Trading on Mobile?

While it’s possible to conduct pre-market trading through a mobile device, the experience might not be as robust as when using a dedicated laptop. Mobile interfaces might lack certain features, making them less suitable for complex order types or large quantity trades.

What Should You Keep in Mind When Conducting Pre-Market Trades?

When trading in the pre-market, keep a variety of factors in mind. These can include the terms and conditions of your brokerage account, the compensation involved in the trades, and the reviews and reputation of the trading platform you’re using.

How Do External Links and Logos Impact Your Trading Decisions?

When trading in the pre-market, you might come across various platforms featuring external links and logos. These elements can be indicators of the site’s credibility and partnerships. For instance, a recognized logo could signify a reputable brokerage or financial news source, providing you with valuable quotes and insights that could influence your trading decisions.

How Does Your Personal Financial Schedule Affect Pre-Market Trading?

Your personal financial schedule, including regular contributions to funds like an IRA, can affect your liquidity and the amount of cash you have available for pre-market trading. This, in turn, impacts the level of competition you face and your rights as an investor. For example, if you regularly fund your IRA, you might opt for less aggressive pre-market trades to balance risk.