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No holiday for Wall Street: Stocks will trade for a full session Friday

December 30, 2010 | 12:23 pm

If you’re still thinking about making a stock trading move before the year ends, you have time: U.S. equity markets will be open for a full session on Friday, New Year’s Eve.

Why -- when much or most of the country will be taking a holiday? The New York Stock Exchange says its rules require it to stay open to allow for trading on what will be the final day of the 2010 accounting period. The Nasdaq market likewise will trade for a full session.

For tax purposes, investment gains or losses are recognized on the day a trade occurs, even if settlement of the transaction occurs a few days later. So investors wanting to sell a stock to record a gain or loss in 2010 can do so until the closing bell at 1 p.m. PST on Friday.

Investors who are permitted to redeem their mutual funds by telephone also can sell any time during the trading day Friday to record the transaction in 2010.

This all might have been a much bigger issue if the 2001 and 2003 federal income tax cuts hadn’t been extended. If they were facing a capital-gains tax increase on Jan. 1 many investors might have been looking to take money off the table this year.

As it is, Friday is likely to be another dull trading day in a dull trading week, with many market players absent -- and with those who aren’t wishing they were.

Wall Street won’t get a holiday on Monday, either: The markets will be open for a full session that day, the first trading day of 2011.

-- Tom Petruno