Best Time to Trade Futures – Difference Between Day and Overnight Session

In a Nutshell: The best time to trade futures, particularly for the S&P 500, is during the standard daytime trading hours from 9:30 AM to 4:15 PM Eastern Time.


  • Daytime trading, from 9:30 AM to 4:15 PM Eastern Time, offers predictability, influenced by S&P 500 company activities.
  • Overnight trading, from 6:00 PM to the next morning, displays distinct behaviors, more swayed by international markets.
  • Market behavior understanding is vital; daytime shows clear trends with active trading, while overnight is impacted by global events.

When is the Best Time to Trade Futures?

In the intricate world of futures trading, finding the best time to trade isn’t just a factor; it’s the cornerstone of success. This is the crux of Aaron Korbs’ comprehensive analysis on the optimal times for trading futures. 

As a seasoned Futures Day Trader and the brain behind, Korbs offers deep insights into Auction Market Theory, Order Flow, and Volume Profile, with a special focus on the S&P 500 futures. 

This market operates almost round the clock, yet Korbs, with his strategic and psychological acumen, opts to trade only during daytime hours.

Daytime vs. Overnight Trading

Korbs’ trading regimen is meticulously aligned with the standard trading hours of the S&P 500, spanning from 9:30 AM to 4:15 PM Eastern Time. 

This preference stems from the distinct characteristics that differentiate daytime from overnight trading sessions. 

The daytime session, buoyed by the activities of companies within the S&P 500 index, is often the best time for trading due to its more predictable and conventional market landscape.

Conversely, the overnight session, which extends from 6:00 PM to the following morning, is more influenced by international markets and less by the S&P 500 constituents, resulting in a unique market behavior that, according to Korbs, necessitates a different trading strategy.

The Foundation of Effective Trading

At the heart of Korbs’ approach is a profound understanding of market behavior. He points out that the value of futures is tied to their underlying assets. 

During regular trading hours, these assets are in active circulation, providing a transparent view of market trends. 

In contrast, the overnight market is swayed by global events and other markets, presenting a distinct set of challenges and opportunities. 

Korbs underscores the importance of recognizing these variances and selecting a trading session that complements one’s skills and strategies.

Mental Resilience and Decision Fatigue

A pivotal element of Korbs’ philosophy is the recognition of the mental rigors involved in trading. He highlights that decision fatigue is a genuine concern, limiting the effective trading duration. 

This realization has steered him towards concentrating his trading activities within a period that ensures peak mental sharpness and discipline, thereby avoiding the trap of declining decision quality over prolonged trading sessions.

Leveraging Prime Market Hours

Korbs is a staunch believer in the potential of regular trading hours for profitability. He contends that longer trading hours don’t necessarily translate to higher profits but can lead to overtrading and reduced returns. 

By focusing on the best time, the most dynamic market hours, Korbs enhances his success probability, adhering to a disciplined schedule that coincides with peak market activity.

The Art of Specialization

All in all, Aaron Korbs’ method in futures trading is an exemplary study in specialization and strategic timing. 

His choice to trade exclusively during regular market hours reflects his deep understanding of market dynamics and the psychological demands of trading. 

His methodology offers invaluable insights for traders aiming to navigate the complex, 24-hour futures market. 

By concentrating on the appropriate hours, comprehending market behavior, and respecting mental limitations, traders can improve their chances of success in this demanding arena. 

As Korbs aptly puts it, in the realm of futures trading, sometimes opting for less can indeed yield more.

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