BSE Sensex Index (Bombay Stock Exchange) Essay

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The BSE Sensitive Index (Sensex) is a value-weighted index tracking the performance of 30 stocks on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

The Bombay Stock Exchange was established in 1875, and in the 21st century it lists more stocks (4,700) than any other exchange in the world. By market capitalization, it is the 10th-largest exchange in the world, and the largest in south Asia. The Sensex was first compiled in 1986, using 1978–79 as its base year, with a starting value of 100 points. The inflation-adjusted rate of return since its base year has been about 9 percent per annum. The index passed the 1,000 point mark in July 1990, doubling in the next year and a half, doubling again in the following two months to pass 4,000 points on March 30, 1992. Growth has been steady, though slower, since then.

Like stock exchanges worldwide, the BSE has suffered from the American subprime mortgage crisis and related credit crisis. The 10 worst single-day falls in the BSE’s history all date from 2006 on; most were in 2008. The Sensex was volatile all through that period, experiencing not only its worst falls but its most rapid climbs, with the three fastest 1,000point climbs in the index’s history occurring in the autumn of 2007.

The 30 stocks tracked by the Sensex are the largest and most traded stocks on the exchange, accounting for about one-fifth of the market capitalization of the huge exchange. As of the beginning of 2009, the 30 stocks on the BSE Sensex are:

  • Associated Cement Companies Limited, a Mumbai cement company operated by the Swiss corporation Holcim.
  • Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, India’s largest infrastructure and energy-related manufacturing company.
  • Bharti Airtel, the largest cellular service provider in India.
  • DLF India, India’s largest real estate developer.
  • Grasim Industries, a textile manufacturer that expanded into building materials and chemicals.
  • Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC), a bank focused on home mortgages.
  • HDFC Bank Limited, a commercial bank opened by HDFC after India began allowing private sector banks in 1994.
  • Hindalco Industries, an aluminum manufacturer.
  • Hindustan Unilever, India’s largest consumer products company, a majority stake of which is owned by the Anglo-Dutch company Unilever.
  • ICICI Bank, formerly Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India, India’s largest private bank.
  • Infosys Technologies Limited, a multinational IT company headquartered in Bangalore.
  • ITC Limited, formerly Imperial Tobacco Company, one of the country’s most profitable companies, a conglomerate dealing in everything from cigarettes to hotels to greeting cards.
  • Jaiprakash Associates, a housing industry company.
  • Larsen and Toubro, a diversified Indian conglomerate with major holdings in construction.
  • Mahindra & Mahindra Limited, a conglomerate with operations in IT, infrastructure, automotive, financial services, and farm equipment.
  • Maruti Suzuki, one of the largest automobile manufacturers in South Asia.
  • National Thermal Power Corporation, the largest power company in the country.
  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, the company responsible for most of India’s natural gas and oil production.
  • Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited, the country’s largest pharmaceutical company.
  • Reliance Communications, a telecommunications company.
  • Reliance Industries, a large conglomerate with holdings in petroleum, clothing, and fresh food.
  • Reliance Infrastructure, a large power company.
  • Satyam Computer Services, an IT company.
  • State Bank of India, the nation’s largest bank.
  • Sterlite Industries, a metals and mining group.
  • Tata Consultancy Services, a software and consulting company.
  • Tata Motors, a vehicle manufacturer.
  • Tata Power, an electricity company with a focus in hydroelectric power.
  • Tata Steel, the world’s fifth-largest steel company.
  • Wipro, an IT company.


  1. Gurcharan Das, India Unbound: The Social and Economic Revolution from Independence to the Global Information Age (Anchor, 2002);
  2. Arvind Panagariya, India: The Emerging Giant (Oxford University Press, 2008);
  3. Jorge Dige Pedersen, Globalization, Development, and the State: The Performance of India and Brazil Since 1990 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008);
  4. Robert J. Shiller, Irrational Exuberance (Broadway Books, 2006).

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