BusinessRobinhood (HOOD) stock soars as trading day extended to...

Robinhood (HOOD) stock soars as trading day extended to 8pm

Popular stock trading platform Robinhood Markets revealed Tuesday it’s bumping its extended trading hours, to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. eastern daylight time (EDT).

That gives users six and a half hours beyond normal trading hours; U.S. stock markets open at 9:30 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. EDT. And according to Robinhood, it also offers hobby traders with day jobs critical time out of office to check portfolios and make money moves.

“Our customers often tell us they’re working or preoccupied during regular market hours, limiting their ability to invest on their own schedule or evaluate and react to important market news,” the company wrote in a blog post. “In fact, we’ve seen a community of Robinhood early birds and night owls who log in exclusively outside of regular market hours. They’re juggling a lot, from full-time jobs to school, families, and side gigs. Our new extended trading hours for equities will give them more opportunities to manage their portfolio at a convenient time for them, whether that’s in the early morning or in the evening.”

The move broadens what Robinhood previously offered customers (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.), and takes the company closer to its dream of 24/7 investing—a key target in its stated mission to “democratize finance for all.” That quest has resonated strongly with armchair investors and stock market dabblers during the COVID pandemic, and the zero-fee platform has become a favorite of retail traders. Early last year, it was their chief weapon in a Reddit-fueled war on Wall Street, fought over meme stocks like GameStop.

It also allows Robinhood to better compete with legacy brokerages like Fidelity and Charles Schwab, which already offer near-24/7 investing.

That’s all sparked much-needed excitement for the company’s stock, which has slumped in the new year as pop culture momentum slowed and trading revenue dwindled. Robinhood’s share price is up 25% as of midday Tuesday, in its sharpest rise of the past few months. However, it’s not enough to cancel out market troubles, as shares are still in the red 13% year to date and 54% since its IPO in July 2021—at the time, a celebrated public debut that saw Robinhood take the unusual step of reserving a large chunk of shares specifically for its customer base, thus letting them capitalize on the IPO pop alongside big banks and billionaires.

But while Robinhood has long pushed for individual investors to have equal access to the stock market as Wall Street institutions, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned in the past that after-hours trading is riskier as fewer people saturate the market and liquidity is lower, meaning stocks can be more volatile. And as Robinhood’s popularity has surged, so have horror stories of amateur traders betting away their retirement savings or kids’ college funds.

According to the company, it had 22.7 million customers with funded accounts in January, up from 12.5 million in 2020.

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