What is Sensex?

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  • 23 Aug 2023

The Indian stock market boasts immense scale and notable volatility. Navigating every individual stock within this vast universe can prove challenging, particularly for novices and inexperienced investors. This is where market indices like the Sensex play a pivotal role.

The Sensex encompasses premier stocks that mirror a particular sector's entire or segment within the Indian stock market. Its function extends beyond representation, aiding investors in making well-informed and prudent investment choices with efficiency and timeliness.

The acronym "Sensex" originates from the term Stock Exchange Sensitive Index. As one of India's earliest stock market indices, it comprises a curated collection of 30 prominent stocks, all listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) – a leading stock exchange in India. These chosen equities primarily represent the country's most sizable and vibrant corporations, making them highly liquid and actively traded.

The Bombay Stock Exchange holds the exclusive authority to adjust the composition of these 30 selected stocks periodically. This flexibility allows the index to remain relevant and reflective of the dynamic nature of the market. A semi-annual reconfiguration of the Sensex's constituents takes place in June and December, ensuring that the index remains up-to-date and representative of the evolving market landscape.

Now that you know the Sensex definition, let’s see how its value is derived. The Sensex value is computed through the application of the free float market capitalization method, which involves the following formula:

Free Float Market Capitalization = Market Capitalization X Free Float Factor.

The market capitalization represents the overall market worth of a company, and its calculation is as follows:

Market capitalization = Share Price per Share X Total Number of Issued Shares by the Company.

The free float factor is a specific percentage that pertains to the total shares issued by a company, which are readily accessible for trading by the general public. This criterion excludes shares held by promoters or under government ownership, which are not available for public trading.

  • Market Sentiment Barometer: The Sensex is often considered a mirror reflecting investor sentiment. A rising Sensex generally signifies optimism and confidence in the economy, while a declining Sensex can indicate uncertainty or pessimism.

  • Economic Health Indicator: As Sensex tracks the performance of key companies across various sectors, it offers insights into the economy's overall health. A buoyant Sensex may indicate robust economic growth, while a faltering one might signal challenges ahead.

  • Investor Confidence: The Sensex plays a pivotal role in shaping investor behavior. Positive movements may attract higher investments, while a slump might trigger cautious or risk-averse sentiments among investors.

  • Policy Implications: Government policies and decisions can impact the Sensex, and conversely, the Sensex can influence policy decisions. For instance, major economic reforms or budgetary announcements can lead to significant market movements.

  1. Opening a Demat Account: Before initiating any trading activities, it is essential for the user to possess a Demat account. This account serves as an electronic repository for your shares, facilitating secure and paperless ownership.

  2. Opening a Trading Account: Open a trading account by enrolling yourself with a licensed broker or a recognized brokerage platform, and subsequently establishing a trading account. This step is particularly crucial since the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) does not support direct securities transactions. The trading account equips you with the ability to conduct online buying and selling of securities conveniently.

  3. Ensure Possession of a Bank Account and PAN Card: In addition to the demat and trading accounts, an investor must possess an operational bank account and a valid PAN card to partake in trading activities within the Sensex.

  4. Select Your Investment Ventures: Once the requisite accounts are successfully established, you gain the liberty to invest in the diverse constituents of the Sensex, each characterized by its specific weightage within the index.

It is noteworthy, however, that a more prudent approach to Sensex investments involves directing your efforts towards index mutual funds or Exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These investment vehicles offer a comprehensive and diversified exposure to the Sensex, presenting a potentially more effective avenue for capital growth.


The Sensex is much more than a mere collection of numbers. It encapsulates the aspirations, uncertainties, and dynamism of India's economy. The Sensex holds a unique position in the financial ecosystem as a barometer of investor sentiment and economic health.

Its fluctuations are watched closely by market participants, policymakers, analysts, and investors alike. Understanding the Sensex goes beyond interpreting financial jargon; it's about grasping the pulse of a nation's economic journey and its ambitions for the future.

Sensex FAQs

The Sensex is India's benchmark index of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). It is a market-capitalization-weighted index comprising 30 of India's most actively traded stocks.

The Sensex calculation also called the Sensitive Index, relies on the index's base value and the free-float capitalization of its constituent 30 companies. This involves the computation of the market capitalization of these 30 companies.

When the Sensex value experiences an upward trajectory, it signifies a widespread surge in share prices. Conversely, a decline in the Sensex indicates a collective decrease in share prices. Monitoring the fluctuations in the S&P BSE Sensex can aid in recognizing periods of market expansion and contraction, commonly called booms and busts.

Supply and demand, interest rates, inflation, political factors, and natural calamities affect the Sensex.

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