Alternative Stock Market Indexes

I saw this interesting article about the mind-share of Nifty as opposed to the BSE Sensex. It is by Samie Modak and Muthukumar K. in
the Financial Express.

The NSE data for June 2010 shows that Nifty futures have peaked at Rs.0.36 trillion of notional turnover in a day (27 Jan 2010) and
Nifty options have peaked at Rs.0.89 trillion of notional turnover in a day (24 June 2010). Nifty has shaped up as one of the big
contracts by world standards. It is interesting to go back and read the original paper. Those were interesting times. Looking back, it
seems obvious that Nifty would dominate the derivatives market, but at the time, the outcome was far from clear.

This made me look at data on risk and reward of the alternative indexes. I start from the first data for Nifty Junior, which takes me back to 21 February 1997, thus giving data for 13.7 years.

Mean Volatility Ratio
Nifty 12.99 26.37 0.4926
BSE Sensex 12.68 26.92 0.4711
Nifty Jr. 18.16 32.38 0.5608
CMIE Cospi 17.40 27.23 0.6391

Nifty and the BSE Sensex are a lot like each other.

The real surprise is Nifty Junior: Merely moving down from rank 1-50 to ranks 51-100 has given an enormous juice in the return and in the reward-to-risk ratio. But the volatility of Nifty Junior is also higher.

The CMIE Cospi index has roughly 2800 stocks today, and represents the broad market. It includes the Nifty Junior stocks and a host of other smaller stocks. But unfortunately, these numbers are not comprabale with the other three in that it includes dividends while the other three do not. With this combination of high diversification (giving a low volatility), small-cap stocks (which helps returns) and inclusion of dividends (which helps returns), it is not surprising that it scores the best reward-to-risk ratio.

In my mind, most of the claims of out-performance by active managers in India are purely about being invested in the non-Nifty
space. Nifty Junior ETFs are easily accessible and I get surprised that more people aren’t putting this into their investment strategy.

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