Market Cap

You probably think that you have never heard of the term “market capitalization” before. You have! When you are talking about “mid-cap”, “small-cap” and “large-cap” stocks, you are talking about market capitalization!

Market cap or market capitalization is simply the worth of a company in terms of it’s shares! To put it in a simple way, if you were to buy all the shares of a particular company, what is the amount you would have to pay? That amount is called the “market capitalization”!

To calculate the market cap of a particular company, simply multiply the “current share price” by the “number of shares issued by the company”! Just to give you an idea, ONGC, has a market cap of “Rs.170,705.21 Cr” (when this article was written)

Depending on the value of the market cap, the company will either be a “mid-cap” or “large-cap” or “small-cap” company! Now the question is, how do YOU calculate the market cap of a particular company? You don’t! Just go to a website like MoneyControl.com and look up the company whose market cap you are interested in finding out! The figure in front of “Mkt. Cap” will be the market cap value.

Having seen what market cap is and how to find out the market cap of a particular company, let us try to understand the concept of “free-float market cap”


Many different types of investors hold the shares of a company! The Govt. may hold some of the shares. Some of the shares may be held by the “founders” or “directors” of the company. Some of the shares may be held by the FDI’s etc. etc!

Now, only the “open market” shares that are free for trading by anyone, are called the “free-float” shares. When we are calculating the Sensex, we are interested in these “free-float” shares!

A particular company, may have certain shares in the open market and certain shares that are not available for trading in the open market.

According the BSE, any shares that DO NOT fall under the following criteria, can be considered to be open market shares:

  • holdings by founders/directors/ acquirers which has control element
  • Holdings by persons/ bodies with "controlling interest"
  • Government holding as promoter/acquirer
  • Holdings through the FDI Route
  • Strategic stakes by private corporate bodies/ individuals
  • Equity held by associate/group companies (cross-holdings)
  • Equity held by employee welfare trusts
  • Locked-in shares and shares which would not be sold in the open market in normal course.

A company has to submit a complete report about “who has how many of the company’s shares” to the BSE. On the basis of this, the
BSE will decide the “free-float factor” of the company. The “free-float factor” is a very valuable number! If you multiply the "free-float factor" with the “market cap” of that company, you will get the “free-float market cap” which is the value of the shares of the company in the open market!

A simple way to understand the “free-float market cap” would be, the total cost of buying all the shares in the open market!

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