Stock exchanges propose extending trading hours to 7.30 pm

Major stock exchanges in the country have proposed an extension of trading hours on bourses till 7.30 pm to better align Indian markets with global trends and boost business.

There is also a proposal to align equity market timings with that of commodity derivatives that are traded till late evening hours, although the exact trading hours are different for the various commodities.

Brokers, however, are not supporting the idea as the move will create logistics problems and employee resistance, say market sources say.

Bourses currently start trading at 9 am and closes at 3.30 pm, with 15 minutes each during pre-open and post-closing sessions.

There are various proposals on the table at present, which include extending trading hours till 5 pm, 5.30 pm and 7.30 pm.

Exchanges had earlier also proposed to extend the timings, but these had met with strong resistance from brokers while regulator Sebi had maintained that it is a matter concerning bourses and its stakeholders.

Brokers point out that an extended trading session of over 10 hours would call for two different shifts for employees and thereby assigning two separate relationship managers for clients.

Exchanges, however, feel that technology advancements would facilitate effective management of a longer trading period and broker reservations are misplaced.

Their argument is that Indian market fails to align with most major Asian markets that open before Indian exchanges, while it also fails to capture the prevailing trend in European and the American markets that opens after Indian markets close.

Last month, Metropolitan Stock Exchange of India (MSEI) announced the extension of trading hours in the equity segment from 9 am to 5 pm from 7 July, but withdrew it within a day.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), in October 2009, had permitted the stock exchanges to set the trading hours between 9 am to 5 pm.

The BSE and the NSE had advanced market open timing to 9 am in December 2009, from 9.45 am earlier.