04:04 PM | 22 Feb 2019
The Nifty is the flagship benchmark of the National Stock Exchange (NSE), which is a well-diversified index, comprising top 50 companies in terms of free-float market capitalisation that are traded on the bourse. It is supposed to reflect the health of the listed universe of Indian companies, and hence the broader economy, in all market conditions.
Officially called the Nifty50, the index is computed using the free float market capitalisation method, which is essentially the count of shares in active circulation in the market at any given point of time.
The Nifty, just like BSE benchmark Sensex, is today used for benchmarking portfolios and returns of mutual fund schemes and launching index funds.
The Nifty index was launched on April 22, 1996, with a base value of 1,000 counted from November 3, 1995. Live Nifty quotes are available on NSEIndia.com, ETMarkets.com and numerous other web platforms and TV channels at any point of time.
The Nifty brand and indices are managed by the Mumbai-based India Index Services and Products Limited, IISL in short, which itself is a subsidiary of NSE. IISL has a three-tier governance structure comprising the board of directors, the index policy committee and the index maintenance sub-committee. IISL managed some 67 indices under the Nifty brand as of September 30, 2016.
IISL rebalances the Nifty index semi-annually. The cut-off dates for the semi-annual review of the index are January 31 and July 31 each year. Average data for the six months ending the cut-off date is considered. The exchange notifies any change in the index four weeks before such changes take effect.
There are defined eligibility criteria for selection of Nifty constituent stocks. The liquidity of a stock is measured by the market impact cost, which is essentially the cost involved in transacting a stock. For a stock to qualify for inclusion in the Nifty50, it must have traded at an average impact cost of 0.50 per cent or less for six months and for 90 per cent of observation cases.
Besides, the company must have a listing history of at least six months. However, a newly-listed company, which has just got listed through the IPO route, may become eligible for inclusion in the index, if it fulfils the normal eligibility criteria for a three- month period instead of six months.
Only those stocks which are eligible for trade in the F&O segment of NSE are considered for inclusion as Nifty constituents.
As of September 20, 2017, the Nifty had 35.73 per cent components from the financial services sector, 14 per cent from the energy sector, 11.46 per cent from the information technology sector, 10.64 per cent from the automobile sector and 10.13 per cent from the consumer goods sector. Six of the nine BFSI companies in the Nifty50 were private banks.
The Nifty index also has several variants such as Nifty Junior, Nifty50 USD, Nifty50 Total Returns index and NIFTY50 Dividend Points Index.