What is the Difference Between Large Cap, Mid Cap & Small Cap?

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  • 02 Dec 2023
What is the Difference Between Large Cap, Mid Cap and Small Cap Funds?

It is essential for stock market newbies to understand what is large cap, mid cap and small cap in stocks. They differ from each other in terms of growth potential and risk. Small-caps have growth potential, mid-caps balance stability and expansion, and large-caps are dependable, well-established businesses. Let’s dig deeper into the article to better understand these stocks and help with informed investing.

When beginners enter the stock market, they often have questions about which stocks to invest in. Such questions can overwhelm even a seasoned investor. Stock market investors must have sufficient knowledge to determine which stocks are the right choice for their investment strategy. If you have no clue about which stocks you should put money in, you could face losses. The share market has inherent risk, and this risk varies from one stock to another.

Stocks in the stock market are often classified based on their market capitalisation or market cap as large-cap, mid-cap and small-cap. This article will help you understand the difference between them and assist you in making better-informed investment choices. Let us first learn about the meaning of market capitalisation and its categories in detail.

Market capitalisation refers to the total number of outstanding shares of a company in the market multiplied by the current price of each share. It is a measure of the estimated valuation of a company.

To help you understand this better, let us look at the meaning of market capitalisation with the help of an example. Suppose ‘ABC’ Company has 20,000 outstanding shares in the market and each share is priced at ₹20. Then, the market capitalisation of ‘ABC’ Company will be calculated as follows:

Outstanding shares x price per share

20,000 x 20 = ₹4,00,000

Therefore, the market capitalisation of ‘ABC’ Company is ₹4,00,000.

The stock of companies traded on the stock exchanges can be categorised into three broad categories: large-cap, mid-cap and small-cap. Let us learn about each of them in detail.

Large-cap companies are well-established businesses with a significant market share, like market caps of ₹20,000 crore or more. These companies dominate the industry and are very stable. They hold themselves well in times of recession or during any other adverse event. Besides, they usually have been functioning for decades and have a good reputation. Large-cap stocks are a good option if you want to invest in a company’s stocks by taking less risk. These stocks are less volatile than mid-cap and small-cap stocks, and lower volatility makes them less risky. However, since they come with low risk, the returns here can be relatively lower than mid and small-cap stocks.

Reliance Industries and Infosys are examples of some large-cap market companies listed on India's stock exchanges. Their strong foothold in the market and consistent good performance make them good choices for long-term investors.

Mid-cap companies have market caps above ₹5,000 crore but less than ₹20,000 crore. Investing in these companies can be riskier than investing in large-cap market companies, because mid-caps tend to be more volatile. On the other hand, mid-cap companies also can turn into large-cap companies in the long run. These companies can offer a higher growth potential than large-cap stocks; hence, more investors are attracted to investing here.

Metropolis Healthcare, Castrol India, and LIC Housing Finance are examples of mid-cap companies listed on India's stock exchanges.

Small-cap companies have a market capitalisation of less than ₹5,000 crores. These companies are relatively smaller in size and have a significant growth potential. What makes them risky is the low probability that they will be successful over time. This makes the stocks of such companies volatile in nature. Small-cap companies have a long history of underperformance but when an economy emerges from a recession, small-cap stocks often prove to be outperformers.

Bajaj Consumer Care, Shobha Ltd, and VST Industries are some examples of small-cap market companies listed on India's stock exchanges.

Here’s a table outlining a quick comparison between the small-cap, mid-cap, and large-cap companies based on various important factors.

Aspect Large-Cap Companies Mid-Cap Companies Small-Cap Companies
Company Type and Stature
Well-established and stable
Compact, growth potential
Smaller, significant growth
Market Capitalization
Rs 20,000 crore or more
5,000 crore to 20,000 crore rupees
Less than Rs 5,000 crore
Low volatility
Moderate volatility
High volatility
Growth Potential
Lower growth potential
Moderate growth potential
Higher growth potential
High liquidity
Lower liquidity
Least liquidity

Keep in mind that different stock exchanges and market situations may alter how companies are classified. When evaluating investment opportunities, it is critical to consider a range of factors and market trends.

Mutual funds and market capitalisation

Mutual funds are an integral part of the Indian financial system. Mutual fund schemes are categorised into large-cap, mid-cap or small-cap funds based on their investment allocation. For example, a large-cap mutual fund scheme will mainly invest in large-cap stocks, while mid-cap and small-cap schemes will invest in mid-cap and small-cap stocks.

The bottom line

Just make sure to factor in your financial goals, appetite for risk and investment horizon before investing. Also, remember that investing in the share market or in mutual funds requires research and analysis. If you're starting your investing journey or need support, it may help to open an account with a large broker like Kotak Securities. This will give you access to market research and analysis and a wide range of educational resources.

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FAQs on Difference Between Large Cap, Mid Cap and Small Cap Funds

Large-cap funds offer higher stability but lower returns. Whereas, mid-cap and small-cap funds may offer slightly higher returns. Returns from small-cap funds may exceed mid-cap funds too. However, both these categories of funds are more risky as they invest in small companies which are still growing. They are not established companies like the ones in large-cap funds. So, you should invest according to you investment objective and risk appetite.

Mid-cap companies are more risky as they invest in growing companies. However, large-cap companies invest in big companies that are well established.

Calculate the market capitalisation to find out if a stock is a large cap or mid-cap. For this multiply the number of total shares of a company to the existing market price of each share. If the market capitalisation is above $10 billion it will be a large-cap company.

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