ES/NQ - How Liquid 24 Hours?

Discussion in 'Index Futures' started by Sophomore Jinx, Oct 21, 2002.

  1. Hi guys -

    I'm just getting into trading the ES and NQ. Would like to be able to take some trades in "off-hours" but not sure what kind of liquidity/market efficiency there is around the clock.

    How liquid are these markets around the clock, and when are the best times to trade (other than 9:30-4 EST)?
  2. dottom


    Liqudity isn't bad when London and Sing/Tokyo are up. The spread is normally no worse than 2 ticks during the dead periods. 3-7am is usually tradeable with standard 1-tick spread. As long as you're not trading size you won't have problems with liquidity.

    However, the problem isn't so much the liquidity but the lack of movement most of the time. You get a lot of "aimless drift". Even the directional moves that you see between 3-7am, while tradeable, are narrow ranges like 5 pts on ES.
  3. Dottom -

    Thanks for the heads-up. I'll look into the 3-7 time frame.

    What about afternoon/evening after the 4 PM close?
  4. dottom


    Well, since S&P futures regular trading hours go to 4:15pm, there's always plenty of liquidity 4:00-4:15pm.

    After 4:15pm volume drops like a rock but you usually get some minor follow-through action or movement on news related items that come out after the close. Something like major earnings release after the close will move the market even on light volume.

    After about 4:30pm or so it's dead until 3am. Unless you're playing some fundamental news event as a position trade, it's not worth opening a position until 3am. Don't even try to play very short-term scalping strategies on ES or NQ during this time. All you get is aimless drift from about 4:30pm to 3am.
  5. Very helpful information - thanks so much. I am going to take a look at the action between 3-7.

    Thanks again.