What does Stock Market Indices Indicate?

5 mins read
by Angel One

How Are Stock Indices Calculated?

The stock market index is a statistical construct of the stock market’s performance. A few similar equities are selected and put together from among the securities already listed on the market for building an index.

Stock selection factors could include the industrial sector, market capitalisation, or firm size. The value of a stock market index is calculated using the prices of the underlying equities, and any change in the underlying stock values affects the index’s overall worth. If the prices of most of the securities increase, the index increases as well, and vice versa.

Thus, a stock index represents both the overall market attitude and the direction of product price movements in the financial, commodities, and other sectors.

The following explains the stock market index’s significance:

Assists with Stock Picking

A stock exchange would have thousands of companies listed on it. Generally, selecting the right stock for investment may appear to be a nightmare. Without a benchmark, you may be unable to distinguish between the stocks. Concurrently sorting the stocks gets difficult. A stock market operates as an instant differentiator in this case. It categorises companies and their shares according to essential factors such as size, sector, and industry type.

Acts in the Capacity of a Representative

Investing in shares involves risk, and you must make an educated choice. Individually studying stocks may appear unrealistic. Indices contribute to the filling of knowledge gaps among investors, and they depict the overall market trend or that of a particular sector. NSE’s Nifty and the BSE’s Sensex are India’s standard indices, and they are supposed to provide insight into the stock market’s overall performance. Similarly, an index including pharmaceutical equities is considered to reflect the average price of pharmaceutical businesses’ stock.

The Peer Comparison Parameter

Before adding a stock to the portfolio, you must identify whether it is worth the investment. Comparing a stock’s performance to the index can determine its performance. If the returns of a stock exceed those of the index, it has outperformed the index. If the returns are less than the index, the stock is considered to have underachieved.

You would always want to invest in a multi-bagger to recoup the risk involved. Otherwise, investing in funds that are low-cost and professionally managed could be a better option. Additionally, you can compare the index to a group of equities, such as those in the information technology sector. As an investor, you may easily determine market patterns.

Sentiments of Investors

It is crucial to understand the investor emotion when it comes to investing in equity markets. This is because mood affects demand for a stock, which affects the overall price. To invest in the proper stock, one must understand why its price has gone up or down. At this point, indexes assist in determining investor sentiment, and you may even notice differences in investor mood across sectors and market capitalisations.

Contributes to Passive Investment

Passive investment is all about investing in a portfolio that closely mirrors the equities in an index. Investors seeking to minimise the costs associated with research and stock selection prefer to invest in index funds. As a result, the portfolio’s returns will be similar to those of the index. If an investor’s portfolio mimics the Sensex, his portfolio will generate returns of about 8% when Sensex generates returns of 8%.

What is the process by which stock market indices are created?

An index is a collection of similar equities regarding market capitalisation, industry, or business size. After the stocks are chosen, the index value is calculated. Each stock will have a special price, and the change in the price of one stock will not be proportional to the change in the price of another. As a result, the index value cannot be calculated simply by adding the prices of all the stocks.

This is where the relevance of stock weighting comes into play. Each stock in the index is weighted differently according to its market capitalisation or price. The weight indicates the magnitude of the impact of a stock’s price change on the index’s value.

The following are the two most often used stock market indices:

Market capitalisation weighting

The term “market capitalisation” refers to the total market value of a company’s stock. It is computed by multiplying the company’s total number of outstanding shares by the share price of each stock. As a result, it takes both the price and the size of the stock into account. In a market-cap weighted index, stocks are assigned a weight based on their market capitalisation relative to the index’s total market capitalisation.

Consider a stock with a market capitalisation of Rs. 50,000 and an underlying index with a market capitalisation of Rs. 1,00,000. Thus, the stock will receive a 50% weighting.

It is critical to remember that market capitalisation fluctuates daily in response to price movements. As a result, the stock’s weight changes every day, and however, such a change is typically minor. Additionally, this strategy gives greater weight to corporations with larger market capitalisations.

In India, the majority of indices employ free-float market capitalisation. The number of shares listed by a corporation is not considered when calculating market capitalisation in this case. Rather than that, use merely the number of publicly traded shares. As a result, the result is less than the market capitalization.

Weighting of prices

The value of an index is computed using the stock price of a company rather than its market capitalisation in this method. Thus, equities with higher prices receive a more significant weighting in the index than stocks with lower prices. The DJIA in the USA and the Nikkei 225 in Japan employ this approach.

This article should have given you a fair idea about what are stock market indices