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What is Pre-Market Trading?

The Indian stock market opens up for trading at 9.15 AM and goes on until 3.30 PM. These are the regular trading hours during which investors and traders may place their buy and sell orders.

However, in 2010, the National Stock Exchange (NSE) came up with a unique concept known as pre-open market trading that allowed investors and traders to place buy and sell orders before the markets open up for regular trading.

Wish to know more about pre-market trading and its benefits? Here’s a comprehensive guide that can help you understand this unique concept.

What is Pre-Market Trading?

The National Stock Exchange in 2010 established a 15-minute window right before the Indian stock market opens up for regular trading. This session begins at 9.00 AM and lasts up until 9.15 AM and is referred to as the pre-market session. Pre-market trading is when buy and sell orders are placed on the exchange during this 15-minute window.

Although it was the NSE that brought about this concept, the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) also adopted it later on. The primary aim for bringing about pre-market trading was to help curb heavy volatility in the market and individual counters due to significant events or announcements that might have happened during the off-market hours.

During this 15-minute window, all of the buy and sell orders for the respective assets are matched with one another to determine the actual supply and demand. This information is then used to set the opening price of the asset. By closely following the pre-market movement of an asset, you can to a certain extent gauge the investor sentiment and the direction that the asset is likely to move during the day.

Breakdown of the Pre-Market Trading Session

  • Segment 1: Order Placement (9.00 AM to 9.08 AM)

    During this 8-minute segment of the pre-market trading session, you’re free to place buy and sell orders for all the segments and asset classes. Additionally, you can also cancel or modify orders that you placed during the segment.
  • Segment 2: Order Matching (9.08 AM to 9.12 AM)

    In this 4-minute segment, the stock exchanges confirm and match every buy order with a respective sell order. The opening price for the asset is then determined once the matching of orders is complete. During this segment, you cannot place any more orders or modify or cancel existing ones.
  • Segment 3: Buffer (9.12 AM to 9.15 AM)

    This short 3-minute session is a buffer window during which no major activity is undertaken by the stock exchanges. In the case of any abnormalities, however, stock exchanges use this 3-minute session to rectify them.

Benefits of Pre-Market Trading

Pre-market trading provides investors with a lot of advantages. Here’s an overview of a few of the key benefits.

  • Early-Mover Advantage

    By taking part in pre-open market trading, you can effectively leverage significant news such as geopolitical developments and company earnings and announcements to your advantage. For instance, if a company announces favourable quarterly results during the off-market hours, you can place a buy order during the next day’s pre-market trading session and get a head start.
  • Chances of Reversals

    Generally, in many cases, the pre-market reaction to a piece of particular news may not bear fruit during regular trading hours. In fact, the market direction may even reverse once regular trading starts. You can use the point of reversal to your advantage and place trades accordingly. For instance, if a company declares a record loss during off-market hours, the pre-market reaction to its stock may be negative. However, during regular trading hours, the bearishness may slowly reverse and turn bullish. You can make use of such reversals to your advantage.
  • Ideal for Investors with Limited Time

    If you’re someone who has a tight work schedule and finds it difficult to place orders during regular market hours, the pre-market trading session may be perfect for you. You can place your orders during this window and carry on with the rest of your day.
  • Stock Prices May Be Favourable

    Pre-market sessions can help you enter into positions at prices that are more favourable than what you would get during regular trading sessions.


Pre-market trading is a key session that can set the tone for the regular trading hours. However, the market may still reverse as the trading session slowly progresses. Since there’s always a bit of uncertainty and increased volatility with pre-open market sessions, trading during these periods is recommended only for experienced traders and investors.

If you’re keen on investing in equity or any other segment, consider opening a trading account and demat account from m.Stock for a seamless experience. The trading platform of m.Stock is packed with features and is robust enough to handle high volumes of trades. Additionally, you also get to enjoy zero brokerage trades on all segments for life without any restrictions whatsoever.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. Any investor can place trades during the 8-minute order placement segment (From 9.00 AM to 9.08 AM) of the pre-market trading session.

You can place trades during the pre-market trading session on both the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) as well as the National Stock Exchange (NSE).

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