What is After the Bell?

After the bell is a phrase referring to the end of an exchange's daily trading session.

How Does After the Bell Work?

Let's say that Company XYZ wants to announce the sudden departure of its CEO and the appointment of the CFO to take her place. If Company XYZ is a public company, it might wait until after the bell to announce the news so that investors can digest the information overnight (or over the weekend, if it's a Friday). This can avoid increasing volatility in the stock.

At 4 p.m. Eastern time, the closing bell rings on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The New York Stock Exchange is the only exchange to ring an actual bell to signify the end of the session.

Why Does After the Bell Matter?

The closing bell does not necessarily mean the end of all trading for the day, and thus doing things 'after the bell' doesn't always guarantee that things are frozen until the morning. After-hours markets remain open, as do other exchanges in other countries and time zones.