WASHINGTON, March 28, 2018: Even when I was in the brokerage business back in the 1980s, I always found particular enjoyment in Wall Street’s longstanding Good Friday trading holiday. That’s because it was, and still is, rooted in this country’s bedrock Judaeo-Christian traditions.
Good Friday and Wall Street back in the day
Traditionally on Good Friday, the buying and selling of stocks ceases. Brokerage houses are closed. Most other businesses stay open, of course. But the frantic buying and selling of stocks is suspended.
This is not like New Year’s Day or the modern punch-drunk edition of St. Paddy’s day. It’s just a quiet day off that pretty much only the brokerage industry formally observes any more. Aside from Christian churches, of course.
To the non-religious, the Good Friday trading break may even seem weird. But it’s been here for a long time, as one website rather irreverantly notes.
“Attention trading junkies! The stock market won’t be open this Friday even though almost every other business will be. While Good Friday isn’t a federal holiday, it is a stock market holiday with little concrete explanation. After being closed on Good Friday off and on, 1907 was the final year in which the exchange was open on Good Friday.”
No one is totally sure why the Good Friday trading halt became the tradition it is today. But most who’ve looked into its history at least a little sense it’s due in part to the confluence of the Christian Easter holiday seasons and the Jewish Passover. Both occur at roughly the same time each year.
In any event, it’s remarkable that this traditional, religiously inspired Wall Street holiday still exists. But it does. Back in the day, even the Street’s robber barons must have felt that somehow, the buying and selling of businesses and lives on each trading day must halt in remembrance of another day long, long ago. A day when an obscure Jewish prophet sacrificed his life for a higher cause: us.
Good Friday on Wall Street today: Markets closed
So why shouldn’t we all take a similar pause on just this one day of the year to cease the buying and selling, the profits and losses to ask ourselves what we’ve been doing to make sure life is at least a little better for those we will eventually leave behind?
For the moment, it’s back to basics. As to the business of stocks and bonds on this most unusual trading holiday, here are the details in brief.
Friday, March 30, 2018. All equity and option markets will be closed in observance of Good Friday. In addition, there will be no Pre Market or After Hours trading sessions. Note that many brokerage houses may still be keeping corporate hours for customers who may have technical or trading issues that require resolution. But check with your brokerage house in advance in case you might need to make a call. Local brokerage offices, however, are generally closed.
Bond markets will close early at 2 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 29, 2018. They will remain closed for Good Friday, March 30, 2018.
Canadian markets will be closed in observance of Good Friday. Equity orders placed in Canada after the close of U.S. markets on Thursday, March 29, 2018, will route to the Canadian exchanges on Monday, April 2, 2018.
Trading on U.S. and Canadian exchanges, including pre- and –post market (after hours) trading will resume a normal schedule on Monday, April 2, 2018.
In the meantime, a happy and blessed Easter Weekend to you all.