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National Stock Exchange of India: Functions, Features, and Top Companies

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National Stock Exchange

NSE India, short for the National Stock Exchange of India, is a key player in the country’s financial scene. Established in 1992, it has modernized the Indian capital market with its automated electronic trading system. Headquartered in Mumbai, it is a leading financial exchange, serving as a crucial indicator of India’s financial well-being. As of 2021, it stood as the fourth-largest exchange globally in terms of trading volume.

Let us discover different details about NSE: features, benefits, functions, top 10 companies listed, how NSE works, and much more below.

What is NSE?

Established in 1994, NSE (National Stock Exchange) was initiated by the Indian government to enhance transparency in the country’s capital market. Created with the involvement of top financial institutions and based on recommendations from the Pherwani Committee, the exchange had diverse shareholdings from both global and domestic investors.

As India’s first stock exchange to introduce electronic trading, NSE played a pivotal role in uniting investors nationwide into a single platform. As of April 11, 2023, NSE’s total market capitalization is around USD 3.26 trillion, making it the 9th largest stock exchange globally.

In contrast to the USA, where corporate sector trading contributes about 70% to the GDP, India constitutes only 12-14% of the total GDP. Out of the 7800 listed companies, approximately 4000 are actively traded on Indian stock exchanges, amounting to a mere 4% contribution to the country’s GDP.

As an institution of national importance and international stature, NSE is a trusted market infrastructure entity with high corporate governance standards. Recognized as one of the world’s largest exchanges, NSE catalyzes India’s economic growth. It was the pioneer in implementing electronic trading in 1994, showcasing its commitment to innovation and technology investment.

NSE’s cutting-edge technology platform ensures reliability, performance, and transparency across all asset classes, catering to diverse investor categories. Focused on investor protection, NSE plays a crucial role in the disciplined development of the Indian capital market landscape.

What are the market segments of NSE?

The National Stock Exchange (NSE) operates in two main market segments:

  1. Whole Sale Debt Market:
  • Deals with various fixed-income instruments.
  • Includes Certificates of Deposit, Bonds, Commercial Paper, Treasury Bills, and Central Government Securities.

2. Capital Market:

  • Facilitates trading of securities like debentures, equity shares, exchange-traded funds, preference shares, and retail government securities.

What are the functions of NSE?

The National Stock Exchange (NSE) serves multiple key functions:

  • Marketplace: NSE facilitates trading of various securities like equities, bonds, and derivatives.
  • Price Discovery: Through its electronic trading system, NSE ensures fair and transparent price discovery for accurate market values.
  • Liquidity Provider: With numerous listed companies and high trading volumes, NSE offers ample liquidity, making entering or exiting positions easy.
  • Clearing and Settlement: NSE’s clearing house ensures efficient and timely settlement, reducing the risk of default.
  • Indices Management: NSE is known for market indices like NIFTY 50, serving as benchmarks for the Indian economy and investment products.
  • Risk Management: NSE minimizes market risk through regulations and real-time monitoring, ensuring a level playing field for all investors.
  • Investor Education: NSE conducts programs to improve financial literacy among investors.
  • Data Services: NSE provides crucial market data and analytics for informed decision-making.
  • Regulatory Functions: Operated under SEBI, NSE plays a key role in ensuring adherence to market laws.
  • Technology Upgradation: NSE employs cutting-edge technology for efficient, secure, and accessible trading.

The NSE created a nationwide trading platform, offered equitable access, and provided a fair, efficient, and transparent securities market. It enables faster settlement cycles and adheres to international norms.

What are the features of NSE?

Features of NSEDetails
Market OperationNSE operates an order-driven market using the National Exchange for Automated Trading (NEAT), an automated screen-based trading system. Each order is assigned a unique number. Orders are matched based on price-time priority, with the best value and older orders taking precedence.
Order Matching SystemLarge trading volumes and liquidity on the NSE facilitate efficient price discovery and trade execution, reducing market volatility.
Advanced TechnologyNSE is known for its cutting-edge technology, providing high-speed and reliable trading platforms for various financial instruments.
TransparencyNSE emphasizes transparency, ensuring readily available market data, price information, and trading activities for investors.
Diverse Product OfferingsNSE offers a wide range of financial products, including equities, derivatives, currencies, and debt securities, meeting diverse investor needs.
Market IndicesProminent indices like Nifty 50 and Nifty Bank reflect top companies’ performance, serving as benchmarks for investors and fund managers.
Regulatory OversightOperates under SEBI’s regulatory oversight, ensuring compliance with market regulations and safeguarding investor interests.
Liquidity and EfficiencyLarge trading volumes and liquidity on NSE facilitate efficient price discovery and trade execution, reducing market volatility.

How does the National Stock Exchange work?

The NSE Stock Exchange in India operates electronically, using a limited order book for trading. This system matches market orders with limit orders without the involvement of specialists or market makers, ensuring anonymity for buyers and sellers. Transparency is enhanced as the trading system displays all buy and sell orders. Investors place orders through stockbrokers, often using online facilities.

Institutional investors can directly access the market for order placement. Equities trading on the NSE occurs throughout the week, with specific timings: a pre-opening session from 9:00 to 9:08 hours and a regular session from 9:15 to 15:30 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.

The Nifty50 is NSE’s main index, representing 63% of the total market capitalization. It covers 12 sectors with 50 variable stocks. The leadership of the exchange includes CEO Vikram Limaye and Chairman Ashok Chawla.

Benefits of Listing on NSE:

  • Market Visibility: NSE, a leading Indian stock exchange, offers companies increased visibility and exposure to a broader investor base, enhancing market standing.
  • Access to Capital: Listing on NSE allows companies to raise capital through IPOs, supporting expansion, research, acquisitions, and debt repayment in a transparent and regulated environment.
  • Liquidity and Exit Options: NSE provides a liquid secondary market, allowing existing shareholders to exit investments easily and boosting investor confidence.
  • Brand Value and Investor Confidence: NSE listing enhances a company’s brand value, signaling compliance with stringent standards and attracting long-term institutional investors.
  • Access to Institutional Investors: Listing on NSE opens doors to institutional investors, bringing stability, credibility, and long-term investment to a company’s shareholder base.
  • Benchmarking and Valuation: Inclusion in NSE market indices like Nifty 50 positively impacts a company’s valuation, attracting investor interest and potentially improving stock performance.
  • Regulatory Framework: NSE operates within a robust regulatory framework, ensuring transparency, compliance, and corporate governance, thereby enhancing investor protection and confidence.
  • Investor Relations Support: NSE offers guidance and support to listed companies, conducting workshops and seminars to enhance understanding of market dynamics, regulatory obligations, and corporate governance practices.

Investment Options on NSE


  • Volatile asset class for maximizing returns.
  • Includes Mutual Funds, equities, indices, ETFs, Security Lending and Borrowing schemes, IPOs, etc.

Equity Derivatives:

  • Derivatives include global indices, commodity derivatives, currency derivatives, interest rate futures, etc.
  • Derivative trading was initiated in 2002, with later expansion to Dow Jones and S&P 500 contracts in 2011.


  • Investment pool with Mutual Funds, ETFs, etc.
  • Core assets: long- and short-term bonds, corporate bonds, and securitized products.
  • NSE introduced the country’s first debt platform on May 13, 2013, offering transparency and liquidity for debt-related products.

Key Indices in the Exchange System:

  • Nifty 50: Represents a diverse collection of market stocks.
  • Nifty 100: Encompasses a broader spectrum of listed stocks.
  • Nifty Next 50: Comprises the next tier of liquid stocks.
  • Nifty Midcap 50: Focuses on mid-sized market stocks.
  • Nifty Smallcap 250: Includes smaller capitalization stocks.
  • India Vix: Gauges market volatility.
  • Other Indices: NSE features various thematic, strategy, hybrid, and fixed-income indices.

Know more about
IPO | Current IPO Upcoming IPO Listed IPO

Top 10 companies listed under this stock exchange according to market capitalization

Company NameLast Price% Change52 wk High52 wk LowMarket Cap (Rs. Cr)
HDFC Bank1,641.20-0.471,757.501,460.251,246,078.59
ICICI Bank1,003.501.251,043.70796.00703,981.32
Bharti Airtel1,076.351.271,078.55735.80615,995.61
LIC India829.30-0.56864.00530.05524,532.06
(Source: Moneycontrol)


As we conclude our exploration of the National Stock Exchange of India, it is evident that the NSE stands as a pillar of strength in the financial realm. Understanding its functions, market segments, and the benefits it offers can empower investors to make informed decisions in the dynamic world of stocks.

Read More: Grey Market Premium

  1. How many companies are listed on the National Stock Exchange of India?

    NSE boasts a diverse portfolio with a substantial number of listed companies, providing investors with ample choices. Currently, there are around 2,113 companies listed.

  2. What are the benefits of listing a company on NSE?

    Listing on NSE offers companies increased visibility, access to a broad investor base, and adherence to high governance standards.

  3. Where is the National Stock Exchange located?

    The headquarters of the National Stock Exchange is situated in Mumbai, India.

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