Sensex touches a record 50,000. Here’s how it has scaled new highs

Created in 1986, Sensex is the oldest stock index in India. A look at its eventful history

Scaling new highs. | File photo: PTI

The BSE benchmark index, S&P BSE Sensex, breached the 50,000-mark in the pre-opening session for the first time on Thursday (January 21). The development came less than 10 months after the crash of March 2020, when the threat of coronavirus roiled the markets.

After touching a high of 50,126.73, the 30-share BSE index ended the day at 49,624.76.

Forecast-beating corporate earnings and hopes of economic reforms in the upcoming budget amid strong foreign inflows in the equity markets have given a boost to the market. Add to that the development of coronavirus vaccines, the inauguration of a new president in the United States, expectations of additional stimulus by the Federal Reserve, and the index has been on a tear.


India’s Oldest Stock Exchange

Created in 1986, Sensex is the oldest stock index in India. It comprises 30 of the largest and most actively traded stocks on the BSE.

The index was launched with a base price of 100 (base year 1978-79).

Sensex was initially calculated based on market-capitalisation weighted methodology. Since September 2003, it began to be calculated based on a free-float capitalisation method.

Major Milestones


The Native Share & Stock-Brokers Association, the forerunner to BSE, is formed by 318 members


Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) recognised as the first stock exchange in India; Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act passed


Reliance Industries launches IPO

January 1986

Launch of 30-scrip free-float BSE index

April 1992

The Harshad Mehta scam comes to light; BSE crashes 12.77%


BSE introduces BOLT (online trading) system


National Securities Depository Ltd set up for handling trading and settlement of shares in dematerialised form

May 17, 2004

Congress wins Lok Sabha election; Sensex falls 15.52%

January 21, 2008

Financial recession/Black Monday: BSE falls 1,408 points to 17,605

November 9, 2016

Demonetisation: Sensex dives 1,689 points

February 28, 2020

Sensex loses 1,448 points as coronavirus cases surge

March 23, 2020

Nationwide lockdown comes into effect. Sensex slumps 3,935 points (13.15%)

January 21, 2021

Sensex crosses 50,000 mark

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