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Understanding NIFTY: Your Key to the Indian Stock Market

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Conquering the Indian stock market starts with understanding key indices like NIFTY. This powerful index acts as your compass, directing you to smart investment choices and giving you a sense of how the whole market is doing.

What is NIFTY?

NIFTY or NIFTY50, which stands for National Stock Exchange Fifty, is a stock market index comprising 50 actively traded companies listed on the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE). It tracks the performance of these companies by their NIFTY share price. Reflecting on the overall performance of these companies provides investors with insights into the broader market trends.

How is NIFTY for Share Market Calculated?

Here’s how NIFTY calculates its score:

It doesn’t just look at the price of a company’s shares. Instead, it focuses on something called “free-float market capitalization.” This means it only counts the shares available for everyone to buy and sell, not the ones locked up by big owners.

Each company in NIFTY gets a different “weight” based on how big its free-float market capitalization is. So, the bigger the company, the more influence it has on NIFTY’s overall score.

NIFTY’s score is calculated using a special formula that compares the current value of all the companies in the index to a fixed value from a long time ago. This lets us see how much NIFTY has grown or changed over time, even if its individual companies have changed.

NIFTY = (Current Market Value / Base Market Value) * 1000

where the base market value was set at ₹2.06 trillion on November 3, 1995.

Eligibility criteria for NIFTY Index Listing

  • The company must be legally based in India. 
  • It must be listed on India’s National Stock Exchange (NSE).
  • Its shares must be highly liquid, which means that buying and selling them should be simple and won’t have a big impact on the price.
  • Its shares must have been traded on at least 90% of the trading days during the previous six months.
  • Its shares must be eligible for trading in the NSE’s futures and options (F&O) segment.
  • The company must have a minimum listing history of one month for index review as of the cutoff date.

The NSE may consider additional factors, such as if the companies are financially healthy and running things transparently and responsibly. 

Different Ways of Investing in NIFTY

Depending on your financial goals, there are different options that you can explore while investing in NIFTY:

  1. Index funds: It’s a mixed basket of all the NIFTY 50 companies. You buy a small piece of this basket, and it automatically tracks NIFTY’s ups and downs. It’s like buying a mini-market based on the NIFTY share price index in one go!
  2. ETFs: Exchange-traded Funds can be easily bought and sold just like regular stocks throughout the day. Think of them as NIFTY on-demand, reacting to the live NIFTY share price movements.
  3. Direct stock purchase: Here, you can hand-pick shares of all 50 companies in the exact proportions they have in the index. It’s like building your customized market basket based on specific NIFTY share price trends but requires more research and effort.

Top Companies listed under NIFTY

The NIFTY 50 is a stock market index that tracks the performance of the 50 largest Indian companies listed on the National Stock Exchange (NSE).

Here are the top 10 companies listed under NIFTY 50 as of December 29, 2023, as per their market capitalization:

  1. Reliance Industries Ltd.
  2. Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.
  3. HDFC Bank Ltd.
  4. ICICI Bank Ltd.
  5. Infosys Ltd. 
  6. Hindustan Unilever Ltd.
  7. Bharti Airtel Ltd.
  8. ITC Ltd.
  9. State Bank of India
  10. Life Insurance Corporation of India Ltd.

Please note that the market capitalization values are as of December 29, 2023, and are subject to change.

Major Milestones of NIFTY

NIFTY’s journey is filled with several important milestones that reflect the evolution of the Indian economy and market. Here are a few key landmarks:

1996: NIFTY is established on April 22nd, with a base value of 1,000.

2000: NIFTY breaches the 1,800 mark, fueled by the IT boom.

2004-2005: The introduction of NIFTY Bank index derivatives and ETF listings marks the increasing market sophistication.

2006: NIFTY surpasses 3,000, driven by strong growth in Indian services.

2007: NIFTY reaches 5,000 due to rising GDP and global liquidity.

2014: NIFTY hits 7,000 after forming a stable government, marking renewed investor confidence.

2017: NIFTY touches 9,000 thanks to strong foreign investment and positive economic data.

2017: NIFTY crosses 10,000, fueled by factors like good monsoon, strong earnings, and the introduction of GST.

2018: NIFTY reaches 11,000 due to falling oil prices and a positive World Bank update on the Indian economy.

2023: NIFTY scales a new high of 21,000, showcasing continued market maturity and resilience.


NIFTY isn’t just a fancy word in Indian finance. It’s a compass. It guides investors and analysts through the ever-shifting market, reflecting the pulse of the Indian economy and offering deep insights into its mood.

Understanding what NIFTY is in the share market or what NIFTY is in the stock market equips you with a powerful tool to navigate the complexities of the Indian financial market. But remember, like any tool, NIFTY has its limitations. Approach it objectively, understand its strengths and weaknesses, and use it to sharpen your judgment, not replace it. 

  1. How to invest in NIFTY?

    When investing in NIFTY, consider your financial goals and explore options such as Index funds, offering a diverse basket of NIFTY 50 companies; ETFs, which can be easily bought and sold like regular stocks throughout the day; or direct stock purchase, where you can personally select shares of all 50 companies in the index, allowing greater control. Choose the approach that matches your preferences and financial objectives.

  2. When was NIFTY established?

    NIFTY was established on April 22, 1996. It started as an index tracking the top 50 companies listed on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) of India and has become a crucial benchmark for the Indian stock market.

  3. What is the meaning of NIFTY?

    NIFTY or NIFTY50 is short for National Fifty, as in National Stock Exchange's best-performing 50 stocks.

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I’m Archana R. Chettiar, an experienced content creator with
an affinity for writing on personal finance and other financial content. I
love to write on equity investing, retirement, managing money, and more.

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