E*Trade has a powerful ally in its after-hours trading venture: Instinet, the largest of the firms that handles traditional offline after-hours trading. To be fair, E*Trade isn't the first online broker to delve into after-hours trading –- Datek Online, one of its competitors, was –- but it's by far the largest (E*Trade has 1.2 million customers, to Datek's 250,000), and it's extending its hours twice as long (Datek allows trades only until 5:15). The new service will become available in September. MORE >>
E*Trade, the world's second-largest online brokerage, announced yesterday that it plans to extend its trading hours to 6:30, two and a half hours after the closing bell, taking it well into the shadowy world of after-hours trading. In the past, after-hours trading has been reserved for larger institutional investors, managers of mutual funds, and other big-time wheeler-dealers, but E*Trade's move will open it up to individual investors. Is this another instance of the Internet's famous democratizing power, or will it just make day-trading that much riskier and more stressful?