Market volatility, circuit breakers, and trading halts | Robinhood

Market volatility, circuit breakers, and trading halts

A volatile market is often characterised by extreme price fluctuations and widespread uncertainty. It’s difficult to guess what will impact the stock market.

During these moments, your investment portfolio might seemingly plummet or soar based on rumours like the US Federal Reserve might change interest rates, the US government may approve an industry bailout, or the US president might issue an executive order.

What’s a circuit breaker?

After the 1987 stock market crash, known as Black Monday, the US Securities and Exchange Commission adopted market-wide circuit breakers, or certain thresholds at which trading is halted for a pre-defined period of time. These circuit breakers were updated in 2012 to make them more meaningful in today’s high speed electronic markets.

What’s a market-wide trading halt?

A market-wide trading halt is like a timeout that’s designed to curtail panic selling during volatile periods. When halts are issued by US equities, options, and futures exchanges, all trading stops on their exchanges.

The following are circuit breakers that can trigger market-wide halts in the US.

  • Level 1: The S&P 500 drops 7% from its closing price the previous day, triggering a 15-minute trading halt.
  • Level 2: The S&P 500 drops 13% from its closing price the previous day, triggering another 15-minute trading halt.
  • Level 3: The S&P 500 drops 20% from its closing price the previous day, and trading is suspended for the remainder of the day.

Note that Level 1 and 2 halts may only happen once per trading day. That means if the S&P 500 slides by 7% (resulting in a 15-minute timeout), trading would only stop again if the decline reaches 13% or more. Likewise, if the S&P 500 drops by 13% (again, resulting in a 15-minute suspension), trading would only cease if the downturn reaches 20%.

Keep in mind, Level 1 and Level 2 circuit breakers can only take effect before 3:25 PM ET. At and after 3:25 PM ET, only a Level 3 halt—a 20% decline in the S&P 500—would cause trading to stop for the day.

Regular US stock market trading hours are 9:30 AM-4:00 PM ET.

Keep in mind

Our app will show you the equivalent Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or British Summer Time (BST) that matches up with the US Eastern times for trading hours. For example, 9:30 AM ET is 5 hours behind GMT and 4 hours behind BST, so will either be 2:30 PM GMT or 1:30 PM BST.

Can I place new orders during a halt?

Yes, you can place new orders during a trading halt but they won’t be processed until the market reopens.

All new and outstanding orders will remain pending until markets reopen. When the halt ends, your orders will be processed. Keep in mind, market orders held or placed during a halt may fill at a very different price when trading resumes.

Can I use my account during a halt?

Yes, you can still use your Robinhood account during a trading halt. You’ll be able to view your positions and read your news feed during a trading halt. While you can place new orders during the halt, they won't be processed until the market reopens.

What about pending orders?

Outstanding or pending orders, including market and limit orders, won’t be processed until the halt is over and markets reopen, which also applies to options orders. Note that market orders held or placed during a halt may fill at a very different price when trading resumes.

Why are charts flat during a trading halt?

When trading is halted, charts reflect the price of the last filled order. No trades are being executed, so prices neither rise nor fall. Rest assured, the price most likely didn’t flatline at zero. When the market reopens, the chart will update accordingly.

Can I deposit or withdraw money during a halt?

Yes. You can deposit or withdraw funds as you normally would.

Russia sanctions

In response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the US and other countries have introduced sanctions to disconnect Russia from global economic access, including restricting access to capital. On February 28, 2022, major US stock exchanges NYSE and NASDAQ halted trading of Russian companies listed on their respective exchanges. That means people can’t buy and sell those companies through any US-based broker dealer, including Robinhood.

Disclosures

All investments involve risks, including the loss of principal. Investors should consider their investment objectives and risks carefully before investing.

Robinhood U.K. Ltd (Robinhood UK) is a company registered in England and Wales (09908051) and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 823590). Robinhood UK onboards UK customers and has the lead customer relationship with UK customers in relation to their use of the Robinhood UK app and website. Robinhood UK introduces UK customers to Robinhood Securities, LLC for order routing, execution, clearing, settlement, arranging custody services and margin lending to eligible UK customers with margin accounts. Robinhood Securities, LLC is regulated in the US by the SEC and FINRA. Robinhood UK and Robinhood Securities, LLC are subsidiaries of Robinhood Markets, Inc.

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All investing involves risk and a loss of principal is possible.

Robinhood U.K. Ltd (Robinhood UK) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 823590). Robinhood UK onboards UK customers and has the lead customer relationship with UK customers in relation to their use of the Robinhood UK app and website. Robinhood UK introduces UK customers to Robinhood Securities, LLC for order routing, execution, clearing, settlement, arranging custody services and margin lending to eligible UK customers with margin accounts. Robinhood Securities, LLC is regulated in the U.S. by the SEC and FINRA. Robinhood UK and Robinhood Securities, LLC are subsidiaries of Robinhood Markets, Inc.

Robinhood U.K. Ltd is a private limited company registered in England and Wales (09908051).

Robinhood does not provide investment advice. Individual investors should make their own decisions.

Commission-free trading of stocks refers to $0 commissions for Robinhood self-directed individual brokerage accounts that trade U.S. listed securities and ADRs. Keep in mind, other costs such as regulatory fees may apply to your brokerage account. Please see Robinhood UK’s Fee Schedule to learn more.

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All investing involves risk and a loss of principal is possible.

Robinhood U.K. Ltd (Robinhood UK) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 823590). Robinhood UK onboards UK customers and has the lead customer relationship with UK customers in relation to their use of the Robinhood UK app and website. Robinhood UK introduces UK customers to Robinhood Securities, LLC for order routing, execution, clearing, settlement, arranging custody services and margin lending to eligible UK customers with margin accounts. Robinhood Securities, LLC is regulated in the U.S. by the SEC and FINRA. Robinhood UK and Robinhood Securities, LLC are subsidiaries of Robinhood Markets, Inc.

Robinhood U.K. Ltd is a private limited company registered in England and Wales (09908051).

Robinhood does not provide investment advice. Individual investors should make their own decisions.

Commission-free trading of stocks refers to $0 commissions for Robinhood self-directed individual brokerage accounts that trade U.S. listed securities and ADRs. Keep in mind, other costs such as regulatory fees may apply to your brokerage account. Please see Robinhood UK’s Fee Schedule to learn more.

UK Privacy policy

© 2024 Robinhood. All rights reserved.