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An Overview

In the world of finance and investing, there are many terms and indices that might sound intimidating at first, but they play a crucial role in understanding the dynamics of the financial markets. One such term is "Sensex." If you've ever wondered what Sensex is, how it works, and why it matters, you're in the right place.


What is Sensex?

The Sensex, short for the Sensitive Index, is a stock market index in India. To put it simply, it's like a giant scoreboard that tracks the performance of some of the biggest and most influential companies listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). The companies listed on the Sensex are referred to as "blue-chip" companies because they are known for their stability, large market capitalization, and widespread presence in the Indian economy.


Why Does Sensex Matter?

The Sensex is not just a bunch of numbers; it's a reflection of the Indian economy and provides valuable insights into how businesses are performing. Here's why it matters:


  • Economic Barometer: Think of the Sensex as a barometer that measures the health of the Indian economy. When the Sensex rises, it suggests that businesses are generally doing well, which often correlates with a thriving economy.

  • Investment Indicator: Investors, both big and small, use the Sensex as a benchmark to gauge how their investments are performing. When the Sensex goes up, it's a good sign for investors as it indicates growth in the market.

  • Confidence Booster: High Sensex numbers often boost investor and consumer confidence. When people see the stock market doing well, they tend to feel more positive about the economy, which can lead to increased spending and investments.


How is Sensex Calculated?

The Sensex is not a simple average of all the stock prices; it's a bit more sophisticated than that. Let's break down various terms:


  • Free-float Market Capitalization: Free-float market capitalization only considers the shares that are available for trading in the market, excluding shares held by promoters, government, and other entities that are not actively traded.

  • Weighted Methodology: In Sensex, companies are not given equal weight. The bigger companies have a more significant impact on the index. So, if a large-cap company's stock price goes up, it has a more substantial effect on the Sensex compared to a small-cap company.


In simple terms, Sensex gives more importance to the big players and how they are performing in the market.


The Sensex Components


The Sensex comprises 30 carefully chosen blue-chip stocks. These stocks belong to various sectors, making the index diverse and representative of the broader market. Some of the sectors typically represented in the Sensex include finance, information technology, healthcare, and consumer goods.


Some of the well-known companies on the Sensex include Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank, and Infosys. These companies are the giants of the Indian stock market and are often used as indicators of its overall performance.


Sensex Performance and What It Tells Us

The Sensex is a daily barometer of the Indian stock market, and its performance can tell us a lot about the current financial landscape. Here are a few key insights we can gain from Sensex movements:


  • Bull Market vs. Bear Market: When the Sensex is on an upward trajectory, it indicates a bull market, characterised by rising prices and optimism. Conversely, a declining Sensex signifies a bear market, marked by falling prices and pessimism.

  • Investor Sentiment: The Sensex can reflect investor sentiment. Positive news, such as strong corporate earnings or economic growth, can drive the Sensex higher. On the flip side, negative news can lead to a decrease in the Sensex.

  • Market Volatility: Sharp fluctuations in the Sensex can indicate increased market volatility. This could be due to global events, economic data releases, or company-specific news.

  • Economic Health: A consistently rising Sensex may suggest a healthy and growing economy, while a declining Sensex can be a warning sign of economic troubles.

  • Long-Term Trends: By analysing the historical performance of the Sensex, investors can identify long-term trends in the Indian stock market.


Sensex and Your Investments

If you're an investor or thinking about entering the world of investing, it's important to understand how the Sensex can impact your financial decisions. Here's what you need to know:


  • Benchmark for Performance: Many mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and investment portfolios are benchmarked against the Sensex. If a fund consistently outperforms the Sensex, it can be a good indicator of strong fund management.

  • Diversification: The Sensex represents a diverse range of sectors. Diversifying your investments across these sectors can help reduce risk and increase the potential for returns.

  • Volatility Awareness: Be prepared for market volatility. The Sensex can experience sharp fluctuations, and it's important not to make impulsive investment decisions based solely on short-term movements.

  • Long-Term Perspective: Investing in the stock market, whether through individual stocks or mutual funds, is generally a long-term endeavour. Don't get swayed by daily or weekly Sensex movements; instead, focus on your long-term financial goals.


Wrapping Up

In a nutshell, the Sensex is a significant indicator of the Indian stock market's health and performance. It represents a carefully selected group of top companies, making it a valuable tool for investors and economists alike. By keeping an eye on the Sensex and understanding its movements, you can make more informed investment decisions and gain insights into the overall economic landscape of India.


So, the next time you see a news headline about the Sensex hitting a new high or low, you'll know that it's not just a number but a reflection of the complex and dynamic world of finance and economics.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Companies In Sensex?

Answer Field

The Sensex is an index of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) that considers 30 well-established and financially sound sensex companies listed on the exchange. These 30 companies are selected based on certain criteria set by the BSE. The Sensex is calculated using the free-float market capitalization method. As of 2023, the Sensex 30 companies cover 18 sectors, with the banking sector having the most dominant weight in the index, followed by IT and Oil & Gas.

Can I use the Sensex to make investment decisions, and how do I interpret its performance?

Answer Field

Yes, you can use the Sensex to make investment decisions, as it serves as a benchmark for the Indian equity market and provides information on the performance of constituent companies and industries.

For Sensex investing, you have two main options:

  • Direct investment: You can invest directly in the Sensex companies with the corresponding weightage in the index. This implies you can purchase stocks in the amount equal to the stock's weightage.

  • Index funds: You can invest in Sensex through index funds, which replicate the index by holding the same 30 stocks as the index. This option is more popular due to its passive management and lower expense ratio. 

To interpret the Sensex performance, you can analyse the performance of individual companies and industries by identifying their weaknesses and growth prospects. The Sensex movements are used as an indicator of market sentiments, with an increase in the Sensex value implying an increase in the price of most shares, and a fall indicating a decrease in the price of most shares.


Why Sensex has 30 stocks?

Answer Field

The Sensex has 30 stocks because it is a free-float market-weighted stock market index that constitutes 30 large and most actively traded corporations of India. These 30 constituents of Sensex are the largest corporations, and this list of 30 stocks is subject to revision by the BSE over time. The BSE follows screening criteria to shortlist Sensex 30 stocks, and all companies listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) can be included in Sensex.

Who started Sensex?

Answer Field

The Sensex, or BSE Sensitive Index, was started on January 1, 1986, with the base year as 1979 and the base value at 100 points. The term "Sensex" was coined by stock market analyst Deepak Mohoni, and it is a combination of the words "Sensitive" and "Index". The sensex index reflects the stock market's sensitivity, where even small events can significantly impact stock prices. The Sensex consists of 30 stocks representing various sectors and is calculated using the free-float market capitalization-weighted methodology.

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