How does after-hours trading affect stock prices?

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After-hours trading occurs beyond regular market hours. For key U.S. exchanges, trading sessions run from 9:30 AM till 4 PM. However, these platforms allow trading to extend as far as 8 PM. Previously, after-hours were for institutional investors alone.
But ECNs have created a space for retail participants without physically making it to the trading floor. During such periods, users can react to new developments as they happen instead of waiting for the next day. This provides an edge over the market, especially if the information’s effect is short-lived. Such events include company profit releases, statements by crypto influencers, even political turmoil.
Unlike standard hours where stocks have high demand and supply, off-peak trades lack liquidity. The competition is also high at this time. For starters, individual traders face institutional rivals with large capital amounts. Moreover, institutional investors use experts who have more experience than retail traders.
Most users prefer securities trading throughout the day with high trading volume. This is because low-volume stocks and those unaffected by after-hour occurrences have massive bid-ask spreads.