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Nifty vs. Sensex: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on November 1, 2023
"Nifty" represents the top 50 companies on the National Stock Exchange of India, while "Sensex" reflects the 30 major stocks on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Key Differences

The "Nifty" is an equity benchmark index, formally known as the NIFTY 50, which represents the performance of the top 50 companies listed on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) of India. In contrast, the "Sensex" is an abbreviation of the Sensitive Index and showcases the top 30 stocks traded on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).
When investors refer to the "Nifty", they're looking at a broader reflection of the Indian market, encompassing a wider range of sectors and industries. On the other hand, the "Sensex", although narrower in its scope, is one of the oldest indices in the country, providing insights into some of the most significant companies in India.
Both the "Nifty" and the "Sensex" are used as barometers to gauge the overall health and direction of the Indian stock market. While the "Nifty" offers a more comprehensive view given its larger number of constituents, the "Sensex" remains an iconic and frequently cited index in financial news and discussions.
In practical terms, if an investor wants exposure to a larger cross-section of the Indian market, they might consider an instrument tracking the "Nifty". However, if they're interested in a more concentrated representation, they might turn their attention to the "Sensex".

Comparison Chart

Full Name

Sensitive Index


National Stock Exchange (NSE)
Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE)

Number of Constituents





Broader spectrum of the Indian market.
Concentrated reflection of major stocks in India.

Nifty and Sensex Definitions


The main stock index of the National Stock Exchange of India.
The Nifty declined by 2% today due to global market fluctuations.


Represents the 30 major stocks on the BSE.
The Sensex gives insight into the performance of India's heavyweight companies.


A benchmark reflecting a diverse range of sectors and industries.
When the IT sector performs well, its impact can be observed in the Nifty's movement.


A barometer of India's major stock market trends.
A rise in the Sensex indicates bullish sentiment among investors.


A composite of various industry leaders in the Indian market.
Positive quarterly results from its constituents can push the Nifty higher.


A concentrated reflection of India's leading stocks.
When major Indian conglomerates release their reports, sharp movements in the Sensex can be expected.


Represents the top 50 traded companies in the NSE.
Investors often use Nifty as a reference for the broader Indian market.


The primary index of the Bombay Stock Exchange.
The Sensex saw a minor dip after the announcement of new economic reforms.


An indicator of the financial health of India's leading corporations.
A surge in the Nifty suggests a bullish trend in the Indian stock market.


An iconic and historical index for Indian stock market movements.
Historical data from the Sensex provides a glimpse into India's economic past.


First-rate; great
A nifty idea.


A nifty person or thing, especially a clever joke.


Good, smart; useful or beneficial.
A nifty trick for reducing your household energy bill


Nifty gear
You look nifty in that jacket.


A possibly risqué comic story or anecdote.


Very good; excellent; - an informal term meaning about the same as groovy, sense 1.


Stylish; attractive; - of clothing; as, a nifty outfit.


Very good;
He did a bully job
A neat sports car
Had a great time at the party
You look simply smashing


Is the "Sensex" limited to specific sectors?

No, the "Sensex" represents diverse sectors but covers only 30 major stocks on the BSE.

Which index, "Nifty" or "Sensex", has more companies?

The "Nifty" includes 50 companies, while the "Sensex" has 30.

How old is the "Sensex"?

The "Sensex" was launched in 1986.

When was the "Nifty" established?

The "Nifty" was introduced in 1996.

Does the "Nifty" include small-cap stocks?

The "Nifty" primarily comprises large-cap stocks representing diverse sectors.

What is the "Nifty" commonly used for?

The "Nifty" is used to gauge the performance of the top 50 companies on the NSE.

Can I invest directly in the "Nifty"?

No, but you can invest in mutual funds or ETFs that track the "Nifty".

Is the "Sensex" considered a broad market index?

While influential, the "Sensex" is narrower, focusing on 30 significant stocks, whereas the "Nifty" is broader with 50 stocks.

Do global events affect the "Sensex"?

Yes, global economic and geopolitical events can influence the "Sensex" movements.

Does the "Nifty" react to monetary policy changes?

Yes, monetary policy decisions can lead to significant movements in the "Nifty".

How often is the "Sensex" updated?

The "Sensex" is updated in real-time during market hours.

How is the weightage determined in the "Sensex"?

In the "Sensex", weightage is based on the free-float market capitalization of its constituents.

How diversified is the "Nifty" in terms of sectors?

The "Nifty" is diversified, including sectors like IT, banking, pharma, auto, and more.

What's the significance of the base year for the "Sensex"?

The base year for the "Sensex" (1978-79) helps standardize the index value, making historical comparisons meaningful.

Are the companies in the "Nifty" fixed?

No, the "Nifty" constituents are reviewed semi-annually and can change based on criteria set by the NSE.

Can the "Sensex" predict future market movements?

While influential, the "Sensex" reflects current market sentiments and doesn't predict future movements.

Why is the "Nifty" often compared to global indices?

The "Nifty" is a major Indian index, so it's compared to global indices to gauge India's market performance in a global context.

Why do financial news outlets frequently cite the "Sensex"?

Being an iconic and historical index, the "Sensex" is a go-to reference for the Indian stock market's health and direction.

Can I analyze historical data for the "Nifty"?

Yes, historical data for the "Nifty" is available and used by investors for analysis.

How is the "Sensex" value calculated?

The "Sensex" is calculated using the free-float market capitalization-weighted methodology.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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