"Night Traders" is Newest Phenomenon in Online Trading

Can 24/7 stock trading be too far into the future? With a move towards convenience and flexibility, Discover Brokerage Direct and Dreyfus Brokerage Services recently announced a new, joint service enabling customers to trade stocks after 4 p.m., ET—the time known as the traditional close of the U.S. Stock Market.

Called MarketXT, an initial 142 stock trading orders worth $3.5 million were executed as of Wednesday evening. The MarketXT service is available from both the Discover and Dreyfus Web sites.

Other online brokerages, including Charles Schwab, E-Trade and Waterhouse Securities, have announced plans for after-hours trading. Customers of the fourth largest brokerage, Datek, can now trade until 5:15 p.m., ET through an electronic service called Island, and has plans to extend its hours as well.

Skepticism on the validity of these services remains a concern, as industry officials caution against a move toward after-hours trading until the Securities and Exchange Commission issues their ruling on extended hours. The New York Stock Exchange already has reported that it will not implement after-hours trading until at least June 2000 in order to take care of issues related to the Y2K bug.