What is Nifty and Sensex? Basics of Stock Market Index!

A Complete Guide on what is Nifty and Sensex: Have you ever heard of the name of Dalal street or the D-Street on any market news channel or financial magazine? I’m sure, you definitely would have heard of it, if you’re even remotely involved in the finance world.

Well, Dalal Street in Mumbai, India is the address of the Bombay Stock Exchange, the biggest stock exchange in India and several related financial firms and institutions. When the Bombay Stock Exchange was moved to this new location at the intersection of Bombay Samāchār Marg and Hammam Street, the street next to the building was renamed Dalal Street.

In Hindi Dalal means “a broker”. The term “Dalal Street” is used in the same way as “Wall Street” in the U.S., referring to the country’s major stock exchanges and overall financial system.

What is Nifty and Sensex?

In order to understand what is Nifty and Sensex, you need to understand the Indian stock exchanges first. Now, let’s discuss the two major stock exchanges in India i.e the ‘Bombay stock exchange’ and the ‘National stock exchange’ along with their indexes.

Table of Contents

  1. 1. Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE)

  2. — SENSEX

  3. — List of 30 Companies Consisting of Sensex

  4. 2. National Stock Exchange (NSE)

  5. — NIFTY or Nifty 50

  6. — Nifty 50 Companies – Constituents of Nifty 50 by Weights – 2021

  7. Nifty and Sensex Movements Meaning

  8. Importance of Market Index

1. Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE)

  1. Bombay stock exchange is an Indian stock exchange located at Dalal Street, Mumbai, Maharashtra.

  2. It was established in 1875 and is Asia’s oldest stock exchange.

  3. It is the world’s fastest stock exchange, with a median trade speed of 6 microseconds.

  4. More than 5,500 companies are publicly listed on the BSE.

  5. The BSE is the world’s 10th largest stock exchange with an overall market capitalization of $2.29 Trillion as of April 2018.

  6. As of Feb 2021, 4,722 companies trading on the BSE were worth over Rs 200 Lakh Crore (Rs 2,00,47,191.31 Cr), as per data available on the exchange.

What is an Index? Since there are thousands of company listed on a stock exchange, hence it’s really hard to track every single stock to evaluate the market performance at a time. Therefore, a smaller sample is taken which is the representative of the whole market. This small sample is called Index and it helps in the measurement of the value of a section of the stock market. The index is computed from the prices of selected stocks.


Sensex, also called BSE 30, is the market index consisting of 30 well-established and financially sound companies listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

  1. The 30 companies are selected on the basis of the free-float market capitalization.

  2. These are different companies from the different sectors representing a sample of large, liquid and representative companies.

  3. The base year of Sensex is 1978-79 and the base value is 100.

  4. It is an indicator of market movement.

  5. If the Sensex goes down, this tells you that the stock price of most of the major stocks on the BSE has gone down. If Sensex goes up, it means that most of the major stocks in BSE went up during the given period.

For example, suppose the Sensex is 49,130 today. If Sensex drops to 48,450 tomorrow, it means that the majority of the 30 companies’ are not performing good i.e. their share price is falling. 

sensex chart feb 2021

— List of 30 Companies Consisting of Sensex

Here is the Sensex 30 Companies- Constituents of Sensex 30 by Weights – 2021 NameIndustry Weight 1.Reliance Industries Ltd.Integrated Oil & Gas12.00% 2.HDFC Bank Ltd.Banks10.47% 3.Infosys Ltd.IT Consulting & Software9.72% 4.Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd.Housing Finance7.67% 5.ICICI Bank Ltd.Banks7.49% 6.Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.IT Consulting & Software5.99% 7.Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd.Banks4.45% 8.Hindustan Unilever Ltd.Personal Products3.66% 9.Larsen & Toubro Ltd.Construction & Engineering3.19% 10.ITC Ltd.Cigarettes,Tobacco Products3.12% 11.Bajaj Finance Ltd.Finance (including NBFCs)3.09% 12.AXIS Bank Ltd.Banks3.07% 13Bharti Airtel Ltd.Telecom Services2.61% 14.State Bank of India Banks2.53% 15.Asian Paints Ltd.Furniture,Furnishing,Paints2.32% 16.HCL Technologies Ltd.IT Consulting & Software2.20% 17.Bajaj FinservFinance (including NBFCs)1.67% 18.Tata Steel Ltd.Iron & Steel/Interm.Products1.51% 19.Tech Mahindra Ltd.IT Consulting & Software1.40% 20.Maruti Suzuki India Ltd.Cars & Utility Vehicles1.38% 21.Titan Company Ltd.Other Apparels & Accessories1.30% 22.UltraTech Cement Ltd.Cement & Cement Products1.30% 23.Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.Pharmaceuticals1.24% 24.Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.Cars & Utility Vehicles1.11% 25.Nestle India Ltd.FMCG1.06% 26.IndusInd Bank LtdBanks1.05% 27.POWERGRIDElectric Utilities0.90% 28.NTPC Ltd.Electric Utilities0.88/% 29.Dr. Reddy Pharmaceuticals0.87% 30.Bajaj Auto Ltd.2/3 Wheelers0.74%

2. National Stock Exchange (NSE)

The National Stock Exchange (NSE) is the leading stock exchange of India, located in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. It was started to end the monopoly of the Bombay stock exchange in the Indian market.

  1. NSE was established in 1992 as the first demutualized electronic exchange in the country.

  2. It was the first exchange in the country to provide a modern, fully automated screen-based electronic trading system that offered an easy trading facility to the investors spread across the length and breadth of the country.

  3. NSE has a total market capitalization of more than US$ 2.27 trillion, making it the world’s 11th-largest stock exchange as of April 2018.

  4. NSE’s index, the NIFTY 50, is used extensively by investors in India and around the world as a barometer of the Indian capital markets.

  5. The NSE remained the world’s largest derivatives exchange for the second consecutive year in 2020 in terms of the number of contracts traded.


BSE and NSE – Why are there two Stock Exchanges in India?

— NIFTY or Nifty 50

Nifty, also called NIFTY 50, is the market index consisting of 50 well-established and financially sound companies listed on the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE).

  1. The base year is taken as 1995 and the base value is set to 1000.

  2. Nifty is calculated using 50 large stocks that are actively traded on the NSE.

  3. The 50 companies are selected on the basis of the free-float market capitalization.

  4. Here, the 50 top stocks are selected from different 24 sectors.

  5. Nifty is owned and managed by India Index Services and Products (IISL)

nifty chart feb 2021
Also read: Nifty 50 fact sheet

— Nifty 50 Companies – Constituents of Nifty 50 by Weights – 2021 NameIndustryWeight 1.Reliance Industries Ltd.Energy - Oil & Gas10.56% 2.HDFC Bank Ltd.Banking8.87% 3.Infosys Ltd.Information Technology8.62% 5.ICICI Bank Ltd.Banking6.72% 4.Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd.Financial Services6.55% 6.Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.Information Technology4.96% 7.Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd.Banking3.91% 10.Larsen & Toubro Ltd.Construction2.89% 8.Hindustan Unilever Ltd.Consumer Goods2.81% 11.ITC Ltd.Consumer Goods2.63% 13.Bajaj Finance Ltd.Financial Services2.52% 12.State Bank of India Banking2.40% 14.Bharti Airtel Ltd.Telecommunication2.33% 9.AXIS Bank Ltd.Banking2.29% 14.Asian Paints Ltd.Consumer Goods1.92% 16.HCL Technologies Ltd.Information Technology1.68% 23.Bajaj Finserv Ltd.Financial Services1.41% 24.Titan Company Ltd.Consumer Goods1.35% 25.Tech Mahindra Ltd.Information Technology1.30% 17.Maruti Suzuki India Ltd.Automobile1.28% 19.Wipro Ltd.Information Technology1.28% 20.UltraTech Cement Ltd.Cement1.17% 18.Tata Steel Ltd.Metals1.14% 30.Tata Motors Ltd.Automobile1.12% 22.Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.Pharmaceuticals1.10% 21.Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.Automobile1.09% 31.Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd.Energy - Power0.96% 28.Nestle India Ltd.Consumer Goods0.93% 32.Grasim Industries Ltd.Cement0.86% 33.HDFC Life Insurance Co. Ltd.Insurance0.86% 34.Divi’s Laboratories Ltd.Pharmaceuticals0.84% 36.Hindalco Industries Ltd.Metals0.82% 26.JSW Steel Ltd.Metals0.82% 35.NTPC Ltd.Energy - Power0.82% 27.Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd.Pharmaceuticals0.77% 29.IndusInd Bank Ltd.Banking0.72% 44.Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd.Energy - Oil & Gas0.70% 41.SBI Life Insurance Co.Insurance0.69% 38.Adani Port and Special Economic ZoneInfrastructure0.68% 39.Cipla Ltd.Pharmaceuticals0.67% 40.Tata Consumer products Ltd.Consumer Goods0.63% 37.Bajaj Auto Ltd.Automobile0.57% 45.Britannia Industries Ltd.Consumer Goods0.57% 42.UPL Ltd. Chemicals0.51% 43.Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd.Energy - Oil & Gas0.48% 48.Shree Cement Ltd.Cement0.47% 47.Eicher Motors Ltd.Automobile0.45% 49.Coal India Ltd.Mining0.43% 46.Hero MotoCorp Ltd.Automobile0.43% 50.Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.Energy - Oil & Gas0.41%

Quick Note: If you want to research more about the fundamentals of these companies, you can go our Stock research and analysis PORTAL here.

Nifty and Sensex Movements Meaning

Sensex and Nifty are both indicators of market movement. If the Sensex or Nifty go up, it means that most of the stocks in India went up during the given period.  With respect to NIFTY and NSE, we can say that:

  1. If the Nifty goes up, this means that the stock price of most of the major stocks on NSE has gone up.

  2. On the other hand, if nifty goes down, this tells you that the stock price of most of the major stocks on NSE has gone down.

The same is true in the case of Sensex. Moreover, when Sensex/Nifty goes high, it shows the economic growth of the country. Else if it keeps declining, it might mean a slow-down or depression.

For example, during the Indian recession of 2008-09, the Sensex fell over 12000 points (-60%). The fall in the Sensex was analogous to the recession. Meaning, people were selling their shares, and an economic crisis in the country.

Similarly, during the covid19 pandemic, the market crashed over 33% within a month, which was again in relation to the deteriorating economic scenario in India and the world.

sensex chart last 25 years economic crisis and pandemic

Also read:

  1. How to Invest in Share Market? A Beginner’s guide

  2. How to follow Stock Market?

  3. How to create your Stock Portfolio?

  4. How to Invest Your First Rs 1,000 in The Stock Market?

  5. #27 Key terms in share market that you should know

Importance of Market Index

  1. The market indexes are the barometer for market behavior. It gives a general idea about whether most of the stocks have gone up or gone down.

  2. Often, Market Index is used as a benchmark portfolio performance.

  3. It is used as a reflector of investor’s sentiments.

  4. Market indexes are used for sorting and comparison of the various companies.

  5. Indices act as an underlying for Index Funds, Index Futures, and Options.

  6. They are used in passive fund management by Index funds.

  7. The index can give a comparison of returns on investments in stock markets as opposed to asset classes such as gold or debt.

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That’s all. I hope this post ‘What is Nifty and Sensex?” is helpful to the readers. Please comment below if you have any doubts. Have a great day and Happy Investing!

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