Quotes during pre-/post-market hours, best times for trading focus (day/month)

I’ve noticed a few quotes appearing in the CME futures before the market opens in the morning, and wanted to remind traders how quotes are displayed.  Recall that trading opens at 9:15 (Eastern).  Until then, the only quotes that show overnight are outright orders.   The effect of calendar spreads, and inter-city spreads, both of which drive many of my quotes, only being to show up when the market opens.  So, for example, a wave of 100+ quotes appeared today at 9:15, to supplement the 20-30 outright quotes that had been showing earlier.  (BTW -Trades, particularly important in options, can be arranged off-exchange at any time.)

Market participants are welcomed (encouraged!) to enter quotes at whatever levels they want, but if you’re looking to see whether your quote is highest bid, or lowest offer, it might make sense to wait until after 9:15.

Having said that, I also think that while traders can leave orders all day (GTD) or open-ended (GTC) that until the market gets to the their level, if they’re looking for a reaction in the market, I’ve found the best times are the first and last hour of the trading day.  (BTW – I strongly discourage market orders for more than one contract as the execution level may end up being well through the first price.  Please feel free to call me with interest of greater than the contracts bid (or offered) and I will try to accommodate retail-sized inquiries.)

With such low volume traded here, traders tend to focus on other things between 10 and 3:30.  I’ve not done a study, but as counterparty to the majority of trades, my sense is that more trading takes place in the first and last hour, than the other 5+ hours of the trading day.

Finally, I’d note that traders tend to give attention to these contracts when key housing-related news is announced.  I’ve written before about how in past years >40% of the trading in a month took place in the window from 2 business days before to 2 days after the release of the Case Shiller indices.  Other key events (e.g. unemployment, 25 point moves in the S&P, rate hikes by the Fed) also seem to bring eyeballs to this market.

Feel free to post quotes at any time, at any level, but if you’re looking to execute more quickly, or on more than the lots bid/offered, please consider reaching out to me first (johnhdolan@homepricefutures.com).