In the Indian financial markets, the first thing an investor or trader should know is that there are two major stock exchanges, the Bombay stock exchange (BSE) and the National stock exchange (NSE). An individual must have a Demat and a trading account to begin trading. The Demat account acts as a virtual repository of stocks or shares purchased by traders. The trading account allows investors or traders to easily execute stock trades in the financial markets. Both these accounts put together can allow a trader to buy, hold, or sell shares and other financial instruments.
To carry out any trade on stock exchanges, one must know the timings of BSE & NSE. Here is the timing-related information of share markets in India.
In India, the trading hours or timings are the same across major stock markets. Traders can use the information related to share market timings for buying, selling, or investing in shares. The timings remain the same irrespective of whether you want to trade on the BSE or the NSE, the two major stock exchanges in India.
As per the standard share market timings, stock markets open at 09:15 AM and close at 03:30 PM. The total functional hours of stock markets are divided into three parts, namely,
- Pre-opening session,
- Normal session, and a
- Post-closing session.
The pre-opening session begins before 09:15 AM and a post-closing session takes place after 03:30 PM. Let’s understand the timing details of each:
The pre-opening session of share markets begins at 09:00 AM and goes on up to 09:15 AM. This timing is further classified into three different sections. Traders can place buy or sell orders for shares during one of these sections for a limited period. Here is how the pre-opening session is further bifurcated:
Section 1: 09:00 AM to 09:08 AM
In these 8 minutes of the session, one can place buy or sell orders for multiple shares in the stock market. A trader can also amend or cancel orders that have been placed. As soon as the normal trading session starts at 09:15 AM, the orders placed in Section 1 of the pre-opening session are given preference in the order queue.
Section 2: 09:08 AM to 09:12 AM
In the 4 minutes of section 2, traders can’t place any fresh orders or modify existing orders or even cancel any order. This section is primarily meant for price matching. Price matching is the comparison or balancing of demand and supply. It helps in estimating the final prices of different shares at the market opening time of 09:15 AM.
Section 3: 09:12 AM to 09:15 AM
This 3-minute time frame acts as a bridge between the pre-opening session and the normal trading sessions. It provides a buffer to allow a smooth transition into the regular trading session. Here, one cannot place, modify, or cancel any orders.
Also known as the continuous trading session, the normal session runs from 09:15 AM to 03:30 PM. In this, traders can trade freely, place buy or sell orders, modify or cancel orders without any specific limitations. In the normal session window, stock exchanges follow a bilateral order matching mechanism. Thus, each sell order is matched to a buy order placed at the same share price. Similarly, each buy order is matched to a sell order placed at the same share price.
As soon as the regular trading session comes to an end at 03:30 PM, the post-closing session begins. Post-closing session is up to 04:00 PM and it can further be divided into two sections:
Section 1: 03:30 PM to 03:40 PM
In the 10 minutes of Section 1, the closing stock prices are estimated by using the weighted average of the stock prices that have been traded between 03:00 PM and 03:30 PM. The closing prices of Sensex and Nifty are calculated using weighted average prices of all stocks listed on them.
Section 2: 03:40 PM to 04:00 PM
During this 20-minute section, traders can continue to place buy and sell orders. However, the orders can be confirmed only if sufficient numbers of buyers and sellers are present in the market.
What is muhurat trading?
The Indian stock markets generally stay closed on public and national holidays. Every year, on the day of Diwali, however, the stock markets remain open for a short one-hour session. This is called Muhurat trading. This is primarily since Diwali is known as an auspicious day in India. The date and timings of Muhurat trading sessions may change each year.
Share market trading becomes far easier if one is aware of the timings to be followed. Since the timings are standardized, it’s easy for traders to remember them and accordingly initiate their orders. Apart from timings, one must ensure to have a Demat and trading account in place to start trading.
Placing buy/sell orders for stocks after the closing hours of stock markets is known as after-hours trading. The after-hours trading can be done between 3:45 PM to 8:59 AM for BSE. For NSE, it is from 3:45 PM to 8:57 AM.
In India, stock markets function only between Monday – Friday. They remain closed on all Saturdays and Sundays. Therefore, you cannot buy shares on stock exchanges on any Sunday.
Since the first hour of market opening is generally the most volatile, it offers many opportunities for intraday traders. Therefore, intraday trading is best done during market opening hours.
BSE is considered to be suitable for beginners, whereas NSE is ideal for seasoned traders. NSE is known for its advanced software set-up for dealing in high-risk online trades.
The best time for trading in India is between 9.30 – 10.30AM. Although stock markets open at 9.15AM, the first few minutes may be volatile due to price adjustments. Therefore, it is best to begin trading slightly later.