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Basics of trading U.S. stocks

1. U.S. stock trading hours

U.S. eastern standard timeEST):

Monday through Friday, 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Hong Kong TimeNon-U.S. Daylight Savings Time period, November – March of next year):

10:30 PM– 5:00 AM the next morning

Hong Kong TimeU.S. Daylight Savings Time period, March -- November):

9:30 PM –4:00 AM next morning

2. US public holidays

The following US public holidays, US stocks are closed all day. The information is for reference only. All rest arrangements are subject to the announcement of the Exchange.

 

Month

Holiday

1

1.New Years Day( January 1)  

2.Martin Luther King, Jr. Day(January 20)

2

Washington's Birthday(February 17)

3

N/A

4

Good Friday(April 10)

5

Memorial Day(May 25)

6

N/A

7

Independence Day(July 3)

8

N/A

9

Labor Day(September 7)

10

N/A

11

Thanksgiving Day(November 26*)  

12

Christmas Day(December 25*)

* Market will close early at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, November 27, 2020 and Thursday, December 24, 2020

 

3. Minimum trading unit for U.S. stocks

Unlike A shares or Hong Kong stocks, U.S. stocks do not adopt the concept of a board lot, and therefore there is no trading unit limit.  The minimum trading unit is 1 share.

4. Share price fluctuation rage for U.S. stocks

Unlike A shares, U.S. stocks do not have daily share price limit up or limit down.  This may mean heightened risks, which investors should be aware of.

5. Day trade for U.S. stocks

Day trading can be highly risky, please refer to the Day-Trading Risk Disclosure Statement to ensure you are aware of the relevant risk before you start conducting Day trading.

Day trade is a pattern of security trading.  It refers to an investor buying and selling a particular stock or stock option position within the same day.  Day trades are also called T+0 trades.  U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has specific regulations around day trades, which specify that accounts with net assets of less than $25,000 are only allowed 3 day trades within 5 consecutive trading days.  Accounts with net assets of over $25,000 have no limit to number of day trades they can make.

Below are some day trade (T+0 trade) examples:

1An investor started the day with a bear position on a particular stock (i.e. he held no shares of the stock).  He bought 200 shares of the particular stock, and then bought another 300 shares of the same stock.  Later in the day, he made 3 trades, and each time sold 100 shares, 200 shares, and another 200 shares of the particular stock.  How many day trades (T+0 trades) did the investor make?

Correct Answer1 day trade (1 T+0 trade)

 

2An investor started the day with a bear position on a particular stock (i.e. he held no shares of the particular stock).  He bought 200 shares of the particular stock, then sold 200 shares of the same stock.  Later, he bought another 300 shares of the same stock, and then sold 300 shares of the same stock before the end of the day.  How many day trades (T+0 trades) did the investor make?

Correct Answer2 day trades (2 T+0 trades) 

3An investor started the day with a bear position on a particular stock (i.e. he held no shares of the particular stock).  He bought 500 shares of the particular stock, then sold all 500 shares in 3 different trades before the end of the day.  How many day trades (T+0 trades) did the investor make?

Correct Answer1 day trade (1 T+0 trade)

 

4An investor started the day with a bear position on a particular stock (i.e. he held no shares of this particular stock).  He bought 100 shares, 200 shares, and 300 shares of the particular stock in 3 different trades.  He then sold all 600 shares in one trade.  All 4 transactions were on the same day.  How many day trades (T+0 trades) did the investor make?

Correct Answer1 day trade (1 T+0 trade)

 

5An investor started the week with a bear position on a particular stock (i.e. he held no shares of the particular stock).  On Monday, he bought 500 shares of the particular stock.  On Tuesday, he bought another 500 shares of the same stock.  Later on Tuesday, he sold 500 shares of the particular stock.  He bought yet another 500 shares of the particular stock.  How many day trades (T+0 trades) did the investor make?

Correct Answer1 day trade (1 T+0 trade)

6An investor started the week with a bear position on a particular stock (i.e. he held no shares of the particular stock).  On Monday, he bought 500 shares of the particular stock.  On Tuesday, he sold 500 shares of the particular stock.  Later on Tuesday, he bought another 500 shares of the same stock. How many day trades (T+0 trades) did the investor make?

Correct Answer0 day trade (0 T+0 trade)

 

6. Clearance and settlement process for U.S. stocks

U.S. stocks adopt the T+2 settlement process.  Clearance and settlement of trade is completed on the 2rd trading day after the day of the trade.

7. U.S. stock markets

1) New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

New York Stock Exchange is the second largest securities exchange in the world.  Approximately 2,800 companies are listed on NYSE, which means their stocks are traded on NYSE.  The total market value tops $15 trillion.

 

2 NASDAQ Stock MarketNASDAQ

NASDAQ Stock Market is a stock market largely based on an electronic network.  Approximately 5400 companies are listed and their stocks trade on NASDAQ.  It is the U.S. stock market with the most listed companies and largest trading volume.  NASDAQ is also the biggest online trading exchange in the U.S.

3) American Stock Exchange (AMEX)

American Stock Exchange is currently the third largest stock exchange in the U.S.  AMEX is the only stock exchange where stocks, options, and derivatives can be traded simultaneously.  AMEX is the only stock exchange that caters to companies with medium to low market value and provides them with a spectrum of services aimed at raising their market profile.

4) Pink Sheet Exchange (PK)

Pink sheet trading has been incorporated into the bottom level of NASDAQ’s stock quotation system.  Pink sheets are a lower level form of quotation within the U.S. over the counter trading market.

5) Over The Counter Trading Markets (OTC)

OTC is a market conducted directly between dealers and principals via trading platforms other than exchanges.  In other words, it is a spread-out trading network outside of the central location of an exchange.  Unlike an exchange there is no automatic disclosure of the price of deals to other market participants, and deals and traded instruments are not standardized. In a generalized sense, OTC markets include NASDAQ, OTCBB (Over The Counter Bulletin Board) and PK.  NASDAQ has the highest level of requirements for OTC securities to be traded, followed by OTCBB, while PK has lowest requirements.