What is the Bank Nifty

Explore the basics on Bank Nifty: what it is, how it's used, and what to watch out for.
What is the Bank Nifty
3 mins
20 October 2023

What is the Bank Nifty?

Bank Nifty is a stock market index that tracks the performance of the banking sector in India. It was created by the National Stock Exchange (NSE) in 2003 to provide a free flow movement of the capital market performance of one of the critical service sectors of India, i.e., banking. The index comprises 12 state-owned and private sector banks. Like the Nifty, those bullish on banks can buy Bank Nifty futures comprising 15 shares or buy a call option on Bank Nifty. Bears can similarly short or sell Bank Nifty futures or buy a put option on the index. The Bank Nifty is more volatile than the Nifty futures contract. Traders who hold bank shares can hedge themselves by taking contra positions on individual banks in the derivatives segment.

Which sectors are covered in the Nifty?

To understand the significance of Bank Nifty, it is essential to grasp the broader context of India's benchmark indices. Nifty, in its entirety, tracks the performance of the top 50 equity stocks traded on the National Stock Exchange (NSE). These 50 stocks represent a diverse cross-section of India's economy, spanning across various sectors. These sectors include:

  1. Information technology
  2. Financial services
  3. Consumer goods
  4. Entertainment and media
  5. Metals
  6. Pharmaceuticals
  7. Telecommunications
  8. Cement and its products
  9. Automobiles
  10. Pesticides and fertilisers
  11. Energy and other services

Thus, the Nifty provides a holistic view of India's financial health.

How is NIFTY calculated?

The NIFTY index is calculated using a free-float market capitalisation-weighted methodology. This means that the weight of each stock in the index is determined by its market capitalisation, but only the free-float shares are considered. Free-float shares are those shares that are available to the public for trading.

The formula for calculation NIFTY is:

NIFTY = Current market value / Base market capital * 1000

For NIFTY calculation, the base period is November 3, 1995. The base value is considered as 1000 and the base capital stands at Rs. 2.06 trillion.

The free float market capitalisation is calculated as follows:

Free float market capitalisation = Share price * Equity capital * Investable weight factor (IWF)

How the Bank NIFTY index is used

Bank Nifty is not merely an observation tool; it is a versatile instrument employed for several purposes. Its pivotal roles include:

  1. The index as a benchmark
    The bank Nifty serves as a benchmark for investors, providing insights into how banking stocks are expected to perform in general. It is a guiding light for investors to make informed decisions and to anticipate whether specific funds will yield profits or losses.

  2. The Bank Nifty for options trading
    The index is actively engaged in options trading, empowering traders to leverage price fluctuations within the banking sector. Traders employ various options trading strategies, including straddles and strangle, to profit from market volatility.

  3. Benchmarking fund portfolios and financial products
    Bank Nifty serves as a benchmark for fund managers, allowing them to assess the performance of mutual funds. Moreover, it provides the ideal foundation for the creation of financial products such as index funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and structured products. These investment vehicles offer diverse options for investors, each with its unique features and benefits.

  4. Technical analysis with the Bank Nifty
    Technical analysis, a cornerstone of investment, plays a pivotal role in understanding market dynamics. The Bank Nifty chart serves as a canvas for investors to identify patterns, analyse trends, and assess the strength and persistence of market trends.

The stockpile of the Bank NIFTY

At the heart of Bank Nifty are 12 significant stocks that represent the banking sector. However, the top stocks currently comprising the Bank Nifty index are:

  1. HDFC Bank Ltd.
  2. ICICI Bank Ltd.
  3. Axis Bank Ltd.
  4. Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd.
  5. State Bank of India
  6. IndusInd Bank Ltd.
  7. AU Small Finance Bank Ltd.
  8. Bandhan Bank Ltd.
  9. Federal Bank Ltd.
  10. IDFC First Bank Ltd.
  11. Bank of Baroda
  12. Punjab National Bank


The Bank Nifty is used as a benchmark for investors and mutual fund managers to gauge how banking stocks will perform in general and whether certain funds are likely to make gains. It is also used as an underlying asset for derivatives trading such as futures and options contracts. Traders can use Bank Nifty futures contracts to speculate on future price movements or hedge their existing positions in bank shares. The Bank Nifty is more volatile than the Nifty futures contract due to its narrow focus on banking stocks.

Investors should exercise caution when dealing with the Bank Nifty, as it is known for its heightened volatility. The value of investments can fluctuate significantly, and careful risk management is essential.

As you navigate the world of trading and explore investment opportunities, consider starting your journey with Bajaj Financial Securities.


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