Close this search box.

Table of Contents

Witching Hour


The “witching hour” in finance refers to the final hour of the stock market trading session, typically between 3 and 4 p.m. EST on Wall Street. It’s often characterized by high volatility and heavy trading volume due to traders closing their positions at the end of the trading day. This can have a significant impact on the prices of stocks and commodities.


The phonetic transcription of “Witching Hour” in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is: /ˈwɪtʃɪŋ ˈaʊər/

Key Takeaways

<ol> <li>Witching Hour is a term used in folklore to refer to the time of night when creatures such as witches, demons, and ghosts are believed to be at their most powerful and to be able to communicate with the living. This time is typically midnight or 3 am.</li> <li>In the financial markets, Witching Hour refers to the last hour of stock trading on the third Friday of every month when options and futures contracts expire. This can lead to increased volume and volatility in the markets.</li> <li>The Witching Hour is also a novel written by Anne Rice. It’s the first in a series about a family of witches, and explores themes of love, power, and supernatural abilities.</li></ol>


The business/finance term “Witching Hour” is important as it refers to the last hour of stock trading, typically between 3:00 PM and 4:00 PM EST on the third Friday of every month. This is when stock market derivatives (options and futures) expire, often leading to increased trading volume and volatility. The simultaneous expiration can induce significant price fluctuations due to investors rebalancing their holdings or covering their positions, which can offer both high risks and high rewards to traders. Understanding the “Witching Hour” can hence be critical for investors to plan their trading strategies accordingly and navigate the potential market turbulence during this period.


The term “Witching Hour” in the world of finance refers to a specific time near the close of the trading day where futures and options contracts are nearing their expiration. This occurs on the third Friday of every March, June, September, and December. The purpose of this is to provide an opportunity for portfolio rebalancing and allows traders to close out positions that are set to expire, often resulting in increased trading volume and volatility.The Witching Hour is used as an opportunity by investors to manage their investment strategies. As the contracts draw closer to expiration, the options may become more or less valuable depending on the underlying asset’s price, directly impacting a portfolio’s risk and return metrics. Therefore, traders utilize this event to make any necessary adjustments to their portfolios in response to these variations. It’s important to note that although the Witching Hour can produce rapid, short-term market fluctuations, it doesn’t necessarily impact the broader trend of the market.


The term “Witching Hour” in business and finance refers to the last hour of the stock trading which consists of a high amount of trading and volatility. Here are three real-world examples:1. Stock Market Close: The most common example of witching hour is the last hour of the trading day, typically between 3:00 – 4:00 PM EST on the NYSE and NASDAQ when a heightened amount of trading typically occurs. 2. Quadruple Witching: Another example happens on the third Friday of every March, June, September, and December. This is referred to as “quadruple witching,” because on this day, market index futures, market index options, stock options, and stock futures expire, often resulting in elevated volumes and possible increased volatility.3. Triple Witching: Triple Witching refers to the quarterly expiration of index futures, index options, and stock options. This occurs on the third Friday of March, June, September, and December, the same as quadruple witching, but does not include stock futures. This can lead to significant volume and potential volatility as traders adjust portfolios for the new contracts.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the Witching Hour?

The Witching Hour is a term used in finance and business to describe the last hour of stock trading on the third Friday of each month, when stock options, index futures, and index options expire simultaneously.

Does the Witching Hour affect the stock market performance?

Yes, the Witching Hour is often associated with a rise in trading volume and increased market volatility due to the larger-than-usual number of trades happening within that short time period.

When exactly does the Witching Hour happen?

The Witching Hour typically takes place between 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on the third Friday of every month.

What is the significance of the Witching Hour for investors?

For investors, the Witching Hour can offer trading opportunities due to the possibly enhanced volatility and volume. However, this period also comes with higher risks due to unpredictable price movements.

Is the Witching Hour the same thing as Triple Witching or Quadruple Witching?

The term Witching Hour is often used interchangeably with Triple Witching or Quadruple Witching. However, while all refer to the same time period, they differ in the number of financial products involved. Triple Witching refers to the simultaneous expiration of stock options, stock index futures, and stock index options; Quadruple Witching adds the expiration of single stock futures.

Why is it called the Witching Hour?

The term Witching Hour comes from the word bewitched, due to the potential for unusual market behaviors around this time. The simultaneous expiration of various financial instruments can lead to increased trading activity, and potentially wild, unpredictable price swings.

Do all markets experience the Witching Hour?

The Witching Hour primarily affects the U.S. markets, but its effects can be felt in financial markets around the world due to interconnected trading systems.

Related Finance Terms

  • Triple Witching: An event that occurs when the contracts for stock index futures, stock index options, and stock options all expire on the same day.
  • Quadruple Witching: The concurrent expiry of stock index futures, stock index options, stock options, and single stock futures on the third Friday of March, June, September, and December.
  • Derivatives: Financial contracts whose value is linked to the price of an underlying commodity, asset, rate, index or the occurrence or magnitude of an event.
  • Options Contract: An agreement that gives the holder the right to buy or sell an underlying asset or security at a specified price on or before a specified date.
  • Futures Contract: A legal agreement to buy or sell a particular asset or commodity at a predetermined price at a set date in the future.

Sources for More Information

About Our Editorial Process

At Due, we are dedicated to providing simple money and retirement advice that can make a big impact in your life. Our team closely follows market shifts and deeply understands how to build REAL wealth. All of our articles undergo thorough editing and review by financial experts, ensuring you get reliable and credible money advice.

We partner with leading publications, such as Nasdaq, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, and more, to provide insights on retirement, current markets, and more.

We also host a financial glossary of over 7000 money/investing terms to help you learn more about how to take control of your finances.

View our editorial process

About Our Journalists

Our journalists are not just trusted, certified financial advisers. They are experienced and leading influencers in the financial realm, trusted by millions to provide advice about money. We handpick the best of the best, so you get advice from real experts. Our goal is to educate and inform, NOT to be a ‘stock-picker’ or ‘market-caller.’ 

Why listen to what we have to say?

While Due does not know how to predict the market in the short-term, our team of experts DOES know how you can make smart financial decisions to plan for retirement in the long-term.

View our expert review board

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More