Best Top Index Funds - MF Explorer

Prime Ratings tells where a fund stands vis-a-vis peers based on quantitative historical data.

Returns greater than a year are annualized (CAGR).

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What is an Index?

According to NSE, A stock market index is a measure of the relative value of a group of stocks in numerical terms. As the stocks within an index change value, the index value changes. An index is important to measure the performance of investments against a relevant market index. Here are some popular indices 


The NIFTY 50 is the flagship index on the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. (NSE). The Index tracks the behavior of a portfolio of blue chip companies, the largest and most liquid Indian securities. It includes 50 of the approximately 1600 companies traded (listed & traded and not listed but permitted to trade) on NSE, captures approximately 65% of its float-adjusted market capitalization and is a true reflection of the Indian stock market.


First compiled in 1986, S&P BSE SENSEX® is a basket of 30 constituent stocks representing a sample of large, liquid and representative companies. Due to its wide acceptance amongst the investors; S&P BSE SENSEX® is regarded to be the pulse of the Indian stock market . As the oldest index in the country, it provides the time series data over a fairly long period of time (from 1979 onwards). Small wonder, the S&P BSE SENSEX® has over the years become one of the most prominent brands in the Country.

NIFTY Next 50 

The NIFTY Next 50 Index represents 50 companies from NIFTY 100 after excluding the NIFTY 50 companies. The NIFTY Next 50 Index represents about 12% of the free float market capitalization of the stocks listed on NSE as on March 31, 2016. NIFTY Next 50 was introduced on January 1, 1997, with base date and base value being November 03, 1996 and 1000 respectively and a base capital of ₹0.43 trillion.

NIFTY 100 

NIFTY 100 represents top 100 companies based on full market capitalisation from NIFTY 500. This index intends to measure the performance of large market capitalisation companies. The NIFTY 100 tracks the behavior of the combined portfolio of two indices viz.

NIFTY 50 and NIFTY Next 50. NIFTY 100 is computed using a free float market capitalization method wherein the level of the index reflects the total free float market value of all the stocks in the index relative to a particular base market capitalization value.

NIFTY 500 

The NIFTY 500 represents the top 500 companies based on full market capitalisation and average daily turnover from the eligible universe. It represents about 94% of the free float market capitalization of the stocks listed on NSE as on March 31, 2016. The total traded value for the last six months ending March 2016, of all Index constituents is approximately 87% of the traded value of all stocks on NSE.

NIFTY MidCap 150

NIFTY Midcap 150 represents the next 150 companies (companies ranked 101-250) based on full market capitalisation from NIFTY 500. This index intends to measure the performance of mid market capitalisation companies. NIFTY Midcap 150 Index is computed using the free float market capitalization method, wherein the level of the index reflects the total free float market value of all the stocks in the index relative to a particular base market capitalization value.

S&P 500

Often referred to as Warren Buffett’s favourite Index, The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) Composite Stock Price Index is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 American stocks intended to be a representative sample of leading companies in leading industries within the U.S. economy. Stocks in the Index are chosen for market size, liquidity, and industry group representation.

What are Index Funds?

SEBI defines Index Funds as Mutual funds with a minimum investment of 95% of total assets in securities of a particular index (which is being replicated/ tracked). In simple words, an index fund is a type of mutual fund that tracks a particular index. For example, the Nifty 50 index fund tracks the Nifty 50 index. The mutual fund invests the AUM of the fund in the exact same securities of that as the index and in the exact same proportion. In the same example as the one above, NIFTY 50 has a weightage of 10.29% to HDFC Bank Ltd., 10.13% to Reliance Industries Ltd., 7.81% to Infosys Ltd. and so on..Therefore, a Nifty 50 index fund would have the same weight.

How to use Index Funds in your portfolio?

Index funds that are available now are mostly either the Nifty 50 or the Sensex. As said earlier, they can be used for large-cap exposure, either on their own or along with moderate-risk multicap funds. The Nifty Next 50 is another index which has a few funds built on it, which can be used to lift portfolio returns like aggressive multi-cap or focused funds. As far as other indices go, use them where they are challenging active funds, where their return potential is strong or can provide diversification to your portfolio, or where they fill a gap in active fund offerings.

What kind of investor does an Index Fund suit?

If you are an investor who does not want to actively choose funds, worry about fund manager performance, review the funds or seek proper advice to maintain quality funds, then index funds (or ETFs) is the way forward. If you’re considering investing in ETFs, read this to know the difference between investing in Index funds and investing in ETFs.

Advantages of Index Funds

Index funds boast of three clear advantages over actively managed funds. One, an actively managed fund can underperform the markets if the fund manager makes the wrong portfolio calls. Portfolio calls can go wrong on many counts – buying the wrong stocks, buying them at too high a price, holding too little weight in outperformers and too much in laggards, selling great stocks too early and so on and so forth. With index funds, there are no such uncertainties, as the fund simply mirrors an established index – where the performing stocks automatically receive more weight while the laggards are trimmed.

Two, with actively managed funds, annual expenses of 1.5-2.5 percent (on regular plans) can take a big bite out of your returns. With index funds, now available at less than 0.25 per cent (again regular plans) in India, you save big on costs.

Three, even if you pick an alpha-generating active fund, the fund manager you relied on can quit or change his style, making it tough for the fund to repeat its past record. With an index fund, the manager doesn’t matter.

But while index funds do save you from the above risks, there are certain risks inherent to investing in equities that they don’t shield you from. Read about them here.

How are Index Funds taxed?

Index Funds are taxed exactly the same as other equity funds. If you buy some units of a Index Fund and sell them in under a year, you will be taxed 15% of all the profits you made from that fund. If you buy some units of a Index Fund and sell them after one year, you will be taxed 10% of all the profits you made from that fund. 

In simpler terms, 

The Short Term Capital Gains Tax (STCG) for profits under 1 year of Index Funds is 15%.

The Long Term Capital Gains Tax (LTCG) for profits after 1 year of large caps funds is 10% (without any indexation benefits). Long Term Capital Gains Tax is also exempt upto capital gains of upto ₹1 lakh just like other equity funds.

General Disclosures and Disclaimers

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