Understanding the Difference between BSE and NSE

Understanding the Difference between BSE and NSE

Investing in the stock market can be a lucrative venture, but it can also be confusing, especially for beginners. One of the first things investors need to grasp is the difference between stock exchanges. In India, the two primary stock exchanges are the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange (NSE). While both serve as platforms for trading securities, they have distinct characteristics that set them apart. Let’s dive into the details and understand the differences between BSE and NSE.

BSE: A Glimpse into the Oldest Stock Exchange in Asia

The Bombay Stock Exchange, established in 1875, is not only the oldest stock exchange in India but also the oldest in Asia. BSE is located in Mumbai, the financial capital of India. It plays a pivotal role in the development of the country’s capital market and has earned a reputation for stability and reliability over the years.

Market Index: Sensex

BSE’s flagship index is the Sensex, short for the Sensitive Index. It represents the performance of the 30 largest and most actively traded companies listed on BSE. The Sensex is widely regarded as a barometer of the Indian stock market and is closely watched by investors and analysts alike.

Trading Mechanism: Open Outcry

BSE market today initially used the traditional open outcry system for trading, where traders would physically gather on the trading floor to buy and sell securities. However, with technological advancements, BSE adopted an electronic trading platform known as BOLT (BSE Online Trading System). This system matches buy and sell orders electronically, bringing efficiency and transparency to the trading process.

Listing Criteria: Wider Range

BSE has a broader listing criteria compared to NSE, allowing smaller companies to get listed on the exchange. This inclusiveness gives BSE a diverse range of companies across different sectors, providing investors with more choices.

NSE: Revolutionizing Stock Trading in India

The National Stock Exchange, established in 1992, is a relatively younger exchange but has quickly become one of the largest and most advanced stock exchanges in India. It is headquartered in Mumbai and has a significant presence across the country.

Market Index: Nifty 50

NSE’s benchmark index is the Nifty 50, which consists of the 50 most actively traded stocks on the exchange. The Nifty 50 represents various sectors and is considered a key indicator of the Indian equity market’s performance.

Trading Mechanism: Fully Automated

NSE is known for pioneering fully automated trading in India. Its trading system, called NEAT (National Exchange for Automated Trading), operates on a computer-based platform. The automated mechanism ensures speedy order execution and reduces the chances of errors or manipulation.

Listing Criteria: Stringent Requirements

NSE has stricter listing requirements compared to BSE. It imposes stringent financial and corporate governance norms on companies seeking to list. As a result, NSE tends to have larger, well-established companies listed on its exchange, making it attractive to institutional investors.

Key Differences and Considerations

Market Share

NSE has gained significant market share over the years and is currently the preferred choice for many investors and traders. It has a larger trading volume compared to BSE and is often considered more liquid.

Trading Hours

BSE and NSE have similar trading hours, with both exchanges operating from Monday to Friday, except on holidays declared by the Indian government or the respective exchange. Pre-market and post-market trading sessions are available on both exchanges for certain securities.

Products and Instruments

Both BSE and NSE offer a wide range of products and instruments for trading, including equities, derivatives, currencies,commodities, mutual funds, and bonds. However, it’s worth noting that NSE has a more extensive offering of derivative instruments, including futures and options, compared to BSE.

Market Reputation

While both BSE and NSE are well-regarded exchanges, BSE’s long-standing history and reputation give it a certain prestige. BSE is often seen as a symbol of stability and trust in the Indian financial market.


In conclusion, understanding the difference between BSE and NSE is essential for anyone looking to invest in the Indian stock market. BSE, with its long history and wider listing criteria, provides a diverse range of companies across various sectors. NSE, with its advanced technology and stringent listing requirements, attracts larger, well-established companies and offers a broader range of derivative instruments.