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Difference between Sensex and Nifty : Nifty v/s Sensex

By News Canvass | Nov 24, 2022


Understanding the stock market and its components is crucial for investors and financial enthusiasts. Two major stock market indices in India are the Sensex and Nifty. While both serve as market performance indicators, they differ in several aspects. This article will explore the difference between Sensex and Nifty, their definitions, calculation methods, and the reasons behind their varying levels. So let’s dive right in!

What is an Index?

Before discussing the Sensex and Nifty, let’s first understand what an index represents in the context of the stock market. An index is a statistical measure that reflects the performance of a group of stocks. It provides investors with a snapshot of how the overall market, or a particular sector is performing. Indices are constructed using various methodologies and are often used as benchmarks to evaluate the performance of investment portfolios.

What is Nifty?

Nifty, also known as the Nifty 50 or the National Stock Exchange Fifty, is a stock market index representing the performance of the top 50 companies listed on India’s National Stock Exchange (NSE). These 50 companies were selected based on specific criteria, including market capitalization and liquidity. Nifty covers various sectors of the Indian economy, offering a comprehensive view of the market.

What is the Sensex?

Sensex, short for the Sensitive Index, is India’s oldest and most widely recognized stock market index. It represents the performance of 30 well-established and financially sound companies listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange. These companies are selected based on specific parameters, such as market capitalization and trading volume. The Sensex is often considered a barometer of the Indian stock market.

How do I calculate Nifty?

The calculation of the Nifty index involves a methodology called the free-float market capitalization-weighted method. It considers both the market capitalization and the free-float factor of the constituent stocks. The free-float market capitalization is the market value of a company’s shares that are readily available for trading in the market. The formula for calculating the Nifty index is as follows:

Nifty Index = (Sum of (Market Capitalization * Free Float Factor) of each stock) / Base Market Capitalization * Base Index Value) * Adjustment Factor

How do I calculate the Sensex?

The Sensex calculation employs the market capitalization-weighted methodology. It considers the market capitalization of the constituent stocks and their relative weights in the index. The formula for calculating the Sensex is as follows:

Sensex = (Sum of (Market Capitalization of each stock * Free Float Factor) / Divisor)

The divisor acts as a scaling factor to ensure the continuity and comparability of the index over time. Any changes in the constituent stocks or corporate actions that affect the market capitalization require adjustments to the divisor.

Difference between the Nifty & the Sensex





Top 50 companies listed on the NSE

30 well-established companies listed on the BSE

Selection Criteria

Based on market capitalization and liquidity

Based on market capitalization and trading volume


Broader spectrum with 50 companies

Smaller sample with 30 companies

Calculation Method

Free-float market capitalization-weighted

Market capitalization-weighted

Base Year and Value

Base value of 1000, base year of 1995

Base value of 100, base year of 1978–79

Sector Representation

More comprehensive sector representation

May not represent all sectors equally due to limited stocks

Popularity and Recognition

Recognized within India and internationally

Widely recognized and oldest index in India


In conclusion, Sensex and Nifty are crucial stock market indices in India but differ in composition, calculation methodology, and coverage. Nifty represents the performance of the top 50 companies listed on the NSE, while Sensex represents 30 well-established companies listed on the BSE. The calculation methods for both indices differ, with Nifty using the free-float market capitalization-weighted method and Sensex utilizing the market capitalization-weighted method. These indices provide investors with valuable insights into the overall market and sector-specific performances.

By understanding the difference between the Sensex and Nifty, investors can make informed decisions based on their investment goals, risk appetite, and sector preferences. Both indices have strengths and limitations, and considering various factors is essential to assessing their performance.

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