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Stock Market Holiday Schedule

All major U.S. stock exchanges are closed on the following holidays: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Washington's Birthday, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas.

The NYSE and NASDAQ closes trading early (at 1:00 PM ET) on the day after Thanksgiving and on Christmas Eve. The Amex ends trading for those products that normally cease trading at 4:00 p.m. at 1:00 p.m. and for those products that normally cease trading at 4:15 p.m. at 1:15 p.m. The AMEX starts accepting orders for after-hours trading at 1:15 p.m. and promises that all eligible orders will be executed by 1:30 p.m. on the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

In general, stock market holidays mimic the federal holidays created by Congress under the provisions of (5 U.S.C. 6103). Under this enabling statute, Congress' ability to establish holidays only extends to naming a date as a holiday and giving federal workers that day off. Individual states, counties and cities are free to observe or ignore such Congressional holidays and to establish their own holidays if they wish, though in recent times virtually all jurisdictions have observed the federal holidays while, in many cases, adding extra holidays such as Admission Day (the day a U.S. Territory was admitted to the union and granted statehood) to the calendar.

Interestingly, the very first federal holiday, Independence Day, was established by Congress in 1870, decades before the passage of 5 U.S.C. 6103. Independence Day has been celebrated as a national holiday ever since, but federal employees getting the day off lost a day's wages on the deal until 1938, when a joint resolution of Congress authorized it as a paid holiday.

Most Congressional scholars believe that if senators and representatives had been paid by the day instead of receiving an annual salary, July 4th would have been a paid holiday from its inception. Absent the holiday costing the nation's rulers a single dime, however, it took the rise of labor unions and the development of the workers' rights movement in the 1920s and '30s to bring about a change.

Businesses are not now, and never have been, required to recognize any of the Congressionally established holidays, but many industries, such as banks and stock exchanges universally do.

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The AMEX starts accepting orders for after-hours trading at 1:15 p.m.

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