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What is Market Capitalization and How to Calculate it?

Last Updated : 03 Jan, 2024
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Market Capitalization is defined as the total market value of any company’s outstanding shares of stock. By multiplying the current market price of a firm’s shares by the total number of outstanding shares, we get the market capitalization. The market capitalization represents the public consensus on the value of a company’s equity. It goes up when the share price increases and declines when the share price falls. Larger firms seem to have a higher market capitalization. It is different from enterprise value, which measures the value of the entire company, including debt. The market capitalization only considers the value of common equity shares outstanding. Comparing market capitalization between companies in the same sector provides a sense of their relative valuations and sizes. Generally, companies with higher market capitalization are considered more valuable than their smaller peers. However, market capitalization alone cannot determine which stock is better.

How to Calculate Market Capitalization?

When assessing a stock in India, a crucial aspect is its market capitalization. The formula for calculating market capitalization is,

Market Capitalization = N × P


  • N represents the number of outstanding shares.
  • P denotes the closing amount of each share.

For instance, imagine a company has 5000 shares, each with a closing price of ₹75. The total market capitalization of the company can be calculated as follows,

Market Capitalization = N × P

Market Capitalization = N × P = 5000 × ₹75

Market Capitalization = ₹3,75,000

Importance of Market Capitalization

1. Universal Metric for Market Value: Market capitalization is a globally accepted method to evaluate a company’s market value, facilitating easy comparisons for investors on a global scale.

2. Reliable Risk Assessment: As a standard metric, market cap offers a reliable (though not foolproof) way to assess investment risks associated with a company.

3. Weighting in Stock Market Indices: Market capitalization is used to determine the proportion of shares in stock market indices, with higher market capitalization stocks receiving a greater weight in index calculations.

4. Convenient Cross-Sector Comparisons: Investors use market capitalization for convenient cross-sector comparisons, helping gauge the relative size and valuation of companies. This aids in assessing the risk-reward profile of potential investments.

5. Balanced Portfolio Construction: Constructing a balanced portfolio involves investing in both large established companies, based on market capitalization, and higher risk, high-growth potential stocks. Market capitalization data informs these allocation decisions.

6. Limitations: Market capitalization has limitations. It does not account for a company’s debt or other liabilities. It does not consider shareholder returns like dividends and stock splits.

7. Caution in Investment Decisions: While valuable, market capitalization should not be the sole metric for investment decisions. Prudent investors consider other financial metrics for a comprehensive evaluation.

8. Prudent Use with Other Metrics: Used prudently alongside other financial metrics, market capitalization guides investors in making optimal investment choices.

Types of Companies Based on Market Capitalization

Market capitalization is used to categorize stocks into large-cap, mid-cap, and small-cap. Constructing a balanced portfolio across these types allows investors to minimize risk.

1. Large-Cap Stocks: Large-cap stocks are shares of companies with the highest level of market capitalization, usually over ₹10,000 crore. These large-sized firms are leaders in their respective industries and have reached a mature stage in their business life cycle. Large caps include famous household names like Reliance, TCS, HDFC Bank, etc. Due to their dominant position and scale, large-cap companies enjoy very high stability in their performance and operations. They have access to plentiful financial resources, established brands, and a loyal customer base. Their stocks are also highly liquid due to high trading volumes. For investors, large-cap stocks carry the lowest level of risk thanks to the steady revenues and profits these corporate giants generate. However, as a tradeoff for stability, large caps also provide lower returns as their growth phase is over. Investors looking for safe, defensive stocks prefer large-cap shares.

2. Mid-Cap Stocks: Mid-cap stocks belong to companies with market capitalizations ranging from ₹500 crore to ₹7,000 crore. These firms are beyond the early stages but not yet at the level of industry leaders. Many mid-caps are emerging players in high-growth sectors. Mid-caps exhibit financial stability as they have sustenance but also demonstrate higher growth potential compared to large-caps. Their reasonably large size provides economies of scale, but they are small enough to still be nimble. For investors, mid-caps present moderate risk as they are established but still growing. The returns tend to be higher for large caps but lower for small caps. Mid-cap stocks offer a strategic balance of risk-reward for investors looking for growth.

3. Small-Cap Stocks: Small-cap stocks have a market capitalization of less than ₹500 crore. These represent new companies in the early stages of their business or niche players trying to disrupt a segment. Due to their small size, their stocks are less liquid. Small caps provide the maximum growth potential driven by new technology, products, or services. However, the risk is also highest with these stocks, as the companies have unproven business models and are susceptible to failure. For aggressive investors with a high-risk tolerance, small-cap stocks provide the opportunity for exponential returns if the company succeeds. However, the probability of losses is also highest with small caps in case the venture fails.

Factors That Impact Market Capitalization

1. Demand and Ability to Meet It: The company’s market value is influenced by how much people want its products or services and if the company can meet that demand. For example, if a tech company makes a product everyone wants, its market value might go up.

2. Market Fluctuations: Changes in the market, either within a specific industry or due to economic ups and downs, can affect a company’s market value. During economic downturns, people might spend less, affecting the market value of companies that rely on consumer spending.

3. Warrant Exercise: If people use the right to buy stocks at a certain price (warrant exercise), it can decrease the company’s value. This is because when a lot of people buy stocks at once, it can flood the market and reduce the value of each stock.

4. Competitor Performance: How well other competing brands or companies are doing can impact a company’s market value. If a new competitor with innovative products enters the market, it may draw customers away from existing companies, affecting their market value.

5. Company Reliability and Reputation: A company’s trustworthiness and reputation play a role in determining its market value. For instance, if a company is known for producing high-quality and reliable products, consumers are more likely to buy from them, positively impacting their market value.

6. Number of Outstanding Shares: The total number of shares a company has can change based on factors like buying back shares or issuing new ones. Stock splits, where new shares are issued, don’t change the market value. Even if a company issues more shares, if the value of each share remains the same, the overall market value of the company doesn’t change after a stock split.

What is Diluted Market Capitalization?

Diluted market capitalization is the overall worth of a company’s outstanding shares, considering additional convertible securities like stock options, warrants, and convertible bonds. These securities have the potential to reduce the ownership percentage of existing shareholders. Diluted market capitalization gives insight into how the value of the company’s equity might be affected if all convertible securities were converted into common shares. It is a more cautious way to measure a company’s total value compared to basic market capitalization, which only looks at the existing common shares. This means it considers the potential impact of other securities that could be converted into common shares, providing a more comprehensive evaluation of a company’s overall value.

Changes in Market Capitalization

There are two primary ways in which a company’s market capitalization can change, by a major change in the company’s stock price or by increasing/decreasing the number of outstanding shares. If the stock price rises significantly due to positive news, investor demand, or other factors, it will increase the company’s overall market valuation and capitalization. Similarly, a major drop in stock price will reduce the market capitalization. Issuing new shares through follow-on offerings or the exercise of stock options expands the number of outstanding shares. This normally causes the per-share price to drop, decreasing the market capitalization, unless offset by corresponding growth. Conversely, share buybacks reduce outstanding shares, which raises the per-share price and market cap if earnings remain stable. Large secondary offerings or the exercise of warrants can flood the market with new shares. This dilutes existing shareholders and may negatively impact the stock price and market capitalization.

Market Capitalization and Investment Strategy

1. Value Investing: Value investing is a strategy where investors seek out stocks that the market undervalues. The focus is on finding companies with low market capitalization that, according to investors, are trading below their true worth.

2. Growth Investing: Growth investing is all about riding the wave of companies expected to grow faster than the overall market. Investors employing this strategy often look at stocks with a high market capitalization, especially those with a proven track record of robust growth.

3. Index Investing: Index investing involves creating a diversified portfolio that mirrors a specific index, like the S&P 500. This strategy allows investors to gain exposure to companies of varying market capitalization levels, providing a broad representation of the market.

4. Diversification Across Market Capitalization: Diversification across market capitalization is a strategy where investors spread their investments across companies with different market values, large-cap, mid-cap, and small-cap stocks. This approach aims to diversify portfolios and potentially lower overall investment risk.

Difference Between Market Capitalization and Free-float Market Capitalization


Market Capitalization

Free-Float Market Capitalization


The aggregate value of a firm’s outstanding shares. The value of a company’s outstanding shares is available for public trading, excluding shares held by company executives.


MC=N×P (Total shares multiplied by the closing price of each share). Free−FloatMC=Float×P (Float multiplied by the closing price of each share).


Considers the total value of all outstanding shares, including those held by executives. Concentrates on the portion of outstanding shares available for public trading.


Do not exclude shares held by company executives. Excludes shares held by executives, providing a more accurate representation of the company’s public market value.


Widely used but may overstate a company’s market value. Offers a more precise valuation by emphasizing shares available for public trading.

Global Adoption

Universally used in financial markets. Adopted on major exchanges globally to enhance market value accuracy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How do we calculate Market Capitalization?


To find the market capitalization, you use this formula,

Market Capitalization = N × P

2. How can we measure a company’s Market Capitalization?


A market cap is an estimation of a firm’s size. It reflects the overall value of all its outstanding shares, including those available for public trading and those held by company officers and insiders.

3. Are Market Capitalization and valuation the same thing?


No, market capitalization and market value are not the same. Market cap refers to the total value of a company’s outstanding shares, while market value is the buying or selling price of a specific asset. Market cap is specific to companies, while market value applies to a range of different purchases.

4. What’s the difference between the capital market and the money market?


The money market deals with short-term, easily tradable financial items. On the other hand, the capital market involves the trading of long-term securities. The capital market serves as a platform for raising funds, playing a vital role in a country’s economic development.

5. How are Market Capitalization categories classified, and what are they?


Companies categorize stocks into three groups based on their market cap. Large-cap stocks possess a market cap of ₹10,000 crore or above; mid-cap stocks range between ₹2 crore and ₹10 crore; and small-cap stocks will be lower than ₹2 crore.

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