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Sensex Explained: What It Is, How Is Works, Pros and Cons

Last updated 03/15/2024 by

Bamigbola Paul

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The Sensex is the benchmark index of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in India, consisting of 30 large and actively traded stocks. It offers insights into India’s economy and market trends, serving as a vital indicator for investors and analysts. Created in 1986 and operated by Standard & Poor’s (S&P), the Sensex reflects the growth and fluctuations of India’s markets over the years.

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Understanding the Sensex

The Sensex serves as both a bellwether and an investable index, tracking the performance of India’s most financially sound companies across various sectors. These companies play a crucial role in shaping the Indian economy and are carefully selected based on specific criteria.

Market cap and holdings

The Sensex is calculated in both Indian rupees (INR) and U.S. dollars, with its composition reflecting the market capitalization of its constituent stocks. As of recent data, notable companies such as HDFC Bank, Reliance Industries, and Infosys dominate the index, representing key sectors driving India’s economic growth.


The methodology behind the Sensex has evolved over time to adapt to changes in India’s economic landscape. Initially based on market capitalization, the index transitioned to a free-float capitalization method in 2003. This method accounts for the tradable portion of a company’s shares, ensuring a more accurate representation of its market value.

History and performance

The Sensex has experienced remarkable growth since its inception, reflecting India’s emergence as a global economic powerhouse. Despite occasional setbacks, such as the impact of the global Coronavirus pandemic, the index has consistently bounced back, demonstrating the resilience of India’s economy.

Current trends

In recent years, the Sensex has surged to record highs, surpassing milestones such as the 50,000 and 60,000 marks. This upward trajectory underscores investor confidence in India’s growth prospects and its position as a key player in the global economy.
Weigh the Risks and Benefits
Here is a list of the benefits and the drawbacks to consider.
  • Comprehensive insight into factors influencing Sensex performance
  • Detailed explanation of investment strategies for the Sensex
  • Clear understanding of economic indicators and corporate earnings impact on the Sensex
  • Wide range of reliable sources cited for further exploration
  • Lack of specific examples illustrating investment strategies
  • Could provide more in-depth analysis of historical Sensex trends
  • Additional exploration of risk management strategies could enhance the article

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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How does the Sensex work?

The Sensex operates as a barometer of India’s economic performance, providing investors with insights into market trends and investment opportunities. Comprising 30 blue-chip companies, the index reflects the overall sentiment of the Indian stock market.

Calculation method

The Sensex employs a free-float capitalization method, which considers only the freely tradable shares of its constituent companies. This approach ensures that the index accurately reflects changes in market dynamics and investor sentiment.

Investing in the Sensex

For investors seeking exposure to India’s vibrant economy, investing in the Sensex offers a convenient avenue for diversification and potential long-term returns. Its diverse composition and market coverage make it an attractive option for both domestic and international investors.

Factors influencing Sensex performance

The performance of the Sensex is influenced by a multitude of factors that shape market dynamics and investor sentiment. Understanding these factors is crucial for investors seeking to navigate India’s complex financial landscape.

Economic indicators

Economic indicators, such as GDP growth, inflation rates, and industrial production data, play a significant role in driving Sensex performance. Positive economic indicators often signal a healthy economy, boosting investor confidence and driving stock market gains.

Corporate earnings

Corporate earnings reports are closely monitored by investors as they provide insights into the financial health and performance of companies listed on the Sensex. Strong earnings growth typically translates to higher stock prices and vice versa, influencing the overall direction of the index.

Investment strategies for the Sensex

Investing in the Sensex requires a thoughtful approach and a clear investment strategy tailored to individual risk tolerance and financial goals. Here are some popular strategies employed by investors to capitalize on the potential of the Sensex.

Index fund investing

Index funds that track the performance of the Sensex offer investors a convenient and cost-effective way to gain exposure to India’s equity market. These funds replicate the composition of the index, providing diversified exposure to a basket of blue-chip stocks.

Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs)

Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs) allow investors to regularly invest fixed amounts in Sensex-related mutual funds over a predefined period. This disciplined approach to investing helps mitigate market volatility and allows investors to benefit from rupee-cost averaging.


In conclusion, the Sensex stands as a symbol of India’s economic progress and market resilience. As one of the oldest and most respected stock indices in Asia, it continues to play a vital role in shaping investor sentiment and driving capital flows in the Indian equity market. By understanding its composition, methodology, and historical performance, investors can make informed decisions and harness the growth potential offered by India’s dynamic economy.

Frequently asked questions

What is the significance of the Sensex in India’s stock market?

The Sensex serves as a crucial benchmark index of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in India. It comprises 30 of the largest and most actively traded stocks, offering insights into the overall performance and trends of India’s economy and stock market.

How often is the Sensex reviewed and updated?

The Sensex undergoes a semiannual review in June and December each year. During these reviews, changes may be made to the constituents of the index based on various factors such as market capitalization, liquidity, and sector representation.

What factors influence the performance of the Sensex?

The performance of the Sensex is influenced by a variety of factors including economic indicators, corporate earnings, global market trends, government policies, and geopolitical events. These factors collectively shape investor sentiment and market dynamics.

What investment strategies can be employed for investing in the Sensex?

Investors can employ various strategies to invest in the Sensex, including index fund investing, systematic investment plans (SIPs), sector-specific investments, and diversification strategies. Each strategy comes with its own set of advantages and considerations.

How does the Sensex calculation method differ from other stock market indices?

The Sensex calculation method employs a free-float capitalization method, which takes into account only the freely tradable shares of its constituent companies. This method differs from traditional market capitalization methods and aims to provide a more accurate representation of market dynamics.

What are the historical milestones and trends of the Sensex?

Over the years, the Sensex has experienced significant milestones and trends, reflecting India’s economic growth and market evolution. Understanding the historical performance of the Sensex can provide valuable insights into long-term market trends and investor sentiment.

Key takeaways

  • The Sensex is a benchmark index of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), reflecting the performance of 30 large and actively traded stocks.
  • It employs a free-float capitalization method to calculate index values, providing a more accurate representation of market dynamics.
  • Investing in the Sensex offers exposure to India’s vibrant economy and diverse sectors, making it an attractive option for investors seeking long-term growth opportunities.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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