correct info in last post but a typo says 2010, try this.
Trade date vs settlement date, last trading date for 2012
When investments such as stocks, bonds, etc. are purchased or sold, there are two important dates - the trade date, and the settlement date.
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The trade date is the day on which the transaction occurs, and the settlement date is the day on which payment is made, and possession transfers from the seller to the buyer. The settlement date is usually 3 business days after the trade date for stocks, or one business day after the trade date for call options and put options. The buyer does not own the stock until settlement date. This is important when the trade is made close to the ex-dividend date, or when the trade is made at yearend, but does not settle until after yearend. The gain or loss on sale is recorded in the tax year of the settlement date.
The last trading date for 2012 and 2013 for Canadian publicly traded stocks is December 24th, and the exchanges close early, at 1 pm Eastern Time, which is 10 am Pacific Time. The Canadian stock exchanges, such as the TSX, are closed on both Christmas Day (Dec 25th) and Boxing Day (Dec 26th). Canadian stocks purchased or sold after this date will settle in 2013, so any capital gains or losses on sale apply to the 2013 tax year.
The last trading date for 2012 and 2013 for US publicly traded stocks is December 26th. The US exchanges, such as NASDAQ, NYSE and CBOE, are not closed for Boxing Day.