A Guide to After Hours Trading on Merrill Edge

In the world of finance and trading, staying ahead of the game is crucial. With the advent of online trading platforms, investors now have the ability to trade stocks and other securities even after the regular market hours. This is known as after-hours trading, and it has become an increasingly popular option for those who wish to react quickly to breaking news or events that might impact the financial markets. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore after-hours trading on Merrill Edge, one of the most reputable online brokerages. We will delve into the basics of after-hours trading, discuss the benefits and risks involved, and provide you with all the information you need to make informed decisions.

What is after-hours trading?

After-hours trading refers to the buying and selling of stocks and other securities outside of regular market hours. In the United States, the regular market hours for stock trading are from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm Eastern Time. However, after-hours trading allows investors to continue trading after the market closes and before it opens the next day. This extended trading session is made possible by electronic communication networks (ECNs), which match buy and sell orders between traders.

How does after-hours trading work on Merrill Edge?

Merrill Edge, the online brokerage division of Bank of America, offers after-hours trading to its clients. To participate in after-hours trading on Merrill Edge, you must have a Merrill Edge investment account. Once you have an account, you can access the after-hours trading session through the Merrill Edge website or mobile app.

Merrill Edge allows after-hours trading from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm Eastern Time on business days. During this time, you can place market and limit orders to buy or sell stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and options. However, it's important to note that not all securities are eligible for after-hours trading, and the availability of specific stocks may vary.

Benefits of after-hours trading

React quickly to breaking news

One of the biggest advantages of after-hours trading is the ability to react quickly to breaking news or events that may impact the financial markets. Traditional market hours can be limiting, and important news may be released when the markets are closed. After-hours trading allows you to take immediate action when news breaks, potentially giving you an edge over other investors.

Take advantage of extended trading hours

After-hours trading extends the trading day beyond regular market hours, providing additional opportunities for investors. This can be especially beneficial for those who have daytime commitments and cannot actively trade during regular market hours. After-hours trading allows these investors to participate in the market and potentially capitalize on market movements that occur outside of regular trading hours.

Diversify your trading strategies

After-hours trading opens up a whole new world of trading strategies. With fewer traders participating in after-hours sessions, the dynamics of the market can be different from those during regular market hours. This can create unique opportunities for traders to employ strategies that may not be as effective during daytime trading.

Risks of after-hours trading

Increased volatility

During after-hours trading, there is typically lower liquidity in the market, which can result in increased volatility. This means that prices can move more rapidly, and bid/ask spreads may widen. Higher volatility can make it more challenging to execute trades at desired prices and increase the risk of unexpected losses.

Limited access to information

Outside of regular market hours, access to real-time market data and news updates may be limited. This can make it difficult to stay informed about the latest developments and trends that may impact trading decisions. Lack of information can increase the risk of making uninformed or hasty trading decisions.

Lower trading volume

After-hours trading typically has lower trading volume compared to regular market hours. This means that there may be fewer buyers and sellers in the market, which can impact liquidity and potentially lead to wider bid/ask spreads. Lower trading volume can also make it harder to execute trades quickly and efficiently.

Tips for successful after-hours trading on Merrill Edge

Conduct thorough research

Before participating in after-hours trading, it is essential to conduct thorough research and stay informed about the latest news and developments. Understand the specific risks associated with after-hours trading and be prepared to react quickly to market changes.

Set realistic expectations

After-hours trading can be more volatile and less liquid than regular market hours. Set realistic expectations and be prepared for potentially wider bid/ask spreads and less favorable trading conditions. It's important to have a clear understanding of the risks involved and to trade with caution.

Use limit orders

To have more control over the price at which you buy or sell a security, consider using limit orders instead of market orders. A limit order allows you to set a specific price at which you are willing to buy or sell, ensuring that your trades are executed within your desired price range.

Monitor your positions

Keep a close eye on your after-hours trades and monitor any positions you hold. After-hours trading can be more volatile, and prices can change rapidly. Set stop-loss orders to protect yourself from significant losses and take profits when appropriate.


After-hours trading on Merrill Edge provides investors with the opportunity to continue trading securities outside of regular market hours. It offers benefits such as the ability to react quickly to breaking news, extended trading hours, and the opportunity to diversify trading strategies. However, it also carries risks such as increased volatility, limited access to information, and lower trading volume. To navigate after-hours trading successfully, it is crucial to conduct thorough research, set realistic expectations, use limit orders, and monitor positions closely. With the right knowledge and preparation, after-hours trading can be a valuable addition to your trading arsenal.


  • Can I place options trades during after-hours trading on Merrill Edge?

    Yes, Merrill Edge allows options trading during after-hours sessions. However, it's important to note that options trading comes with its own set of risks and complexities. Make sure to understand the characteristics and risks associated with options trading before participating in after-hours options trading.

  • Are there any additional fees for after-hours trading on Merrill Edge?

    Merrill Edge does not charge additional fees specifically for after-hours trading. However, it's important to review the brokerage's fee schedule to understand all applicable fees and charges for trading on Merrill Edge.

  • Can I trade international securities during after-hours trading on Merrill Edge?

    Merrill Edge primarily focuses on U.S. securities, so the availability of international securities for after-hours trading may be limited. It's best to check with Merrill Edge or consult their trading platform for a list of eligible securities during after-hours sessions.

  • What happens if my after-hours trade is not executed?

    If your after-hours trade is not executed, it will be canceled, and you will have to place a new order during regular market hours. It's important to closely monitor your orders and the market conditions during after-hours trading to ensure timely execution.

22 October 2023
Written by John Roche