Basic Terminology and Concepts of Stock Market

This is the 3rd chapter of my blog series on the Stock market, In which you will learn about the Indian Stock Market from the very basic to the professional level. Keep learning.

Basic Terminology and Concepts of Stock Market

Basic Terminology and Concepts

Welcome back to our series, "Understanding the Indian Stock Market: A Beginner's Guide." In this third installment, we'll delve into the essential terminology and concepts that every investor should understand. By the end of this blog, you’ll have a solid grasp of key stock market terms and be better prepared to navigate the world of investing.

Stocks, Shares, and Equity


A stock represents ownership in a company and constitutes a claim on part of the company’s assets and earnings. There are two main types of stocks:

  • Common Stock: Holders have voting rights and may receive dividends.
  • Preferred Stock: Holders typically don’t have voting rights but have a higher claim on assets and earnings than common stockholders.

Shares are the individual units of ownership interest in a company. When you own shares, you own a piece of the company proportional to the number of shares you hold relative to the total number of shares issued.


Equity refers to the ownership value of shareholders in a company, calculated as the difference between total assets and total liabilities. Equity represents the amount that would be returned to shareholders if all assets were liquidated and all debts paid.

Bull and Bear Markets

Bull Market

A bull market is characterized by rising stock prices and general optimism among investors. It typically signals a growing economy and is marked by increased investor confidence.

  • Example: The Indian stock market experienced a bull market from 2003 to 2007, with the Sensex increasing significantly during this period.
Bear Market

A bear market is characterized by falling stock prices and general pessimism among investors. It often signals economic slowdown and decreased investor confidence.

  • Example: The global financial crisis of 2008 led to a bear market, with the Sensex experiencing substantial declines.

Market Capitalization

Market capitalization, or market cap, is the total market value of a company's outstanding shares of stock. It is calculated by multiplying the current share price by the total number of outstanding shares.

  • Large-cap: Companies with a market cap of ₹20,000 crore or more.
  • Mid-cap: Companies with a market cap between ₹5,000 crore and ₹20,000 crore.
  • Small-cap: Companies with a market cap below ₹5,000 crore.

Market cap helps investors gauge the size and risk level of a company, with large-cap companies generally being more stable but offering slower growth compared to small-cap companies.

Sensex and Nifty Indices


The Sensex, or S&P BSE Sensex, is the benchmark index of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). It comprises 30 of the largest and most actively traded stocks on the BSE, representing various sectors of the Indian economy.

  • Importance: It serves as a barometer for the overall performance of the Indian stock market and economy.
Nifty 50

The Nifty 50 is the benchmark index of the National Stock Exchange (NSE). It includes 50 of the largest and most liquid stocks listed on the NSE.

  • Importance: It is widely used by investors to assess the market's performance and is a key indicator of economic health.

How Stock Prices are Determined

Stock prices are determined by supply and demand in the market. Here are the main factors influencing stock prices:

  • Company Performance: Earnings reports, revenue growth, and profitability impact investor perception and stock prices.
  • Economic Indicators: Inflation, interest rates, and GDP growth influence market conditions and stock prices.
  • Market Sentiment: Investor perception, news, and events can drive stock prices up or down.
  • External Factors: Political stability, regulatory changes, and global events also affect stock prices.

Fundamental Analysis

Fundamental analysis involves evaluating a company's financial health and performance to determine its intrinsic value. Key metrics include:

  • Earnings Per Share (EPS): Measures the company's profitability on a per-share basis. Higher EPS generally indicates better performance.
  • Price-to-Earnings (P/E) Ratio: Compares the company's stock price to its earnings. A lower P/E ratio might indicate that the stock is undervalued.
  • Book Value: Represents the net asset value of a company. It is calculated by subtracting total liabilities from total assets.

By analyzing these metrics, investors can make informed decisions about whether a stock is overvalued, undervalued, or fairly priced.

Technical Analysis

Technical analysis involves studying past market data, primarily price and volume, to forecast future price movements. Key concepts include:

  • Charts and Patterns: Visual representations of stock prices over time. Common patterns include head and shoulders, double tops, and triangles.
  • Indicators and Oscillators: Tools like Moving Averages, Relative Strength Index (RSI), and Bollinger Bands help identify trends and potential reversal points.

Technical analysis assumes that all relevant information is already reflected in stock prices and focuses on identifying patterns and trends that repeat over time.

Importance of Financial Statements

Financial statements provide a comprehensive overview of a company's financial health. The three main financial statements are:

  1. Income Statement: Shows the company's revenues, expenses, and profits over a specific period. Key components include revenue, cost of goods sold, gross profit, operating expenses, and net income.
  2. Balance Sheet: Provides a snapshot of the company's assets, liabilities, and equity at a specific point in time. Key components include current assets, non-current assets, current liabilities, non-current liabilities, and shareholders' equity.
  3. Cash Flow Statement: Shows the cash inflows and outflows from operating, investing, and financing activities. It helps investors understand how the company generates and uses cash.

Analyzing these statements helps investors assess a company's performance, financial health, and potential for growth.


Understanding basic stock market terminology and concepts is essential for any investor. This knowledge forms the foundation upon which you can build more advanced investing strategies. By grasping the basics of stocks, shares, market capitalization, indices, stock price determination, fundamental and technical analysis, and financial statements, you'll be better equipped to make informed investment decisions.

Stay tuned for our next blog in the series, where we'll explore how to start investing in the Indian stock market, including opening a Demat and trading account, choosing a brokerage, and placing orders.

I hope this blog provides a clear understanding of basic stock market terminology and concepts. Feel free to leave your questions or comments below, and happy investing!