For the first time in history, the Sensex closed above the psychological mark of 50,000 on February 3. According to a research by Motilal Oswal Financial Services, while the first 25,000 took 28 years, the second 25,000 milestone has come in the last seven years.
The Top 2 sectors in 2021 — Private Banks (28.5 per cent) and Technology (17.7 per cent) — had zero representation in the Sensex in 1990. Similarly, NBFCs, with 12.4 per cent weight in the Sensex, had zero weight in 1990.
The index has, indeed, come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1986, when it traded at 549, while setting the base year of 1978-79 as 100.
On this spectacular journey, the Sensex has mirrored the economic growth of the country from the pre-liberalisation phase to now emerge as one of the top economies of the world while overcoming the challenges of Asian financial crisis, dot com bubble, Global financial crisis, taper tantrum to Covid pandemic and coming out triumphant, the report said.
The recent sprint to 50,000 now in February 2021, from pandemic lows of 26,000 in March’20 — amid lockdowns and other health challenges — has been led by a benign global liquidity backdrop, better containment of Covid-19 cases, sharp recovery in corporate earnings, and a market-friendly budget.
While traversing its journey from 549 to 50,000, the Sensex, up 91x, has delivered 13.6 per cent CAGR returns in the last 35 years. While the returns have been impressive, this has been a non-linear journey.
Calendar year 1991 — the year in which India ushered in a new era by breaking the barriers of the ‘License-control Raj’ — was the best year of annual returns, with the Sensex delivering 82 per cent gains.
On the other hand, 2008, the year of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), was the worst year, with the Sensex ending the year with a 52 per cent decline.