Free-Float Market Capitalisation

To make informed investment decisions, it’s crucial to understand how companies are valued in the stock market. One key method is called free-float market capitalisation. It differs from the conventional approach to measuring a company’s value as it solely concentrates on shares available for trading.

In this guide, we will break down the free float market capitalization meaning, how it’s calculated, why it’s helpful for investors, and how it affects the stock market.

What is Free-Float Market Capitalisation?

Free-float market capitalisation is a method used to evaluate the total value of a company’s publicly traded shares. It only considers shares held and actively traded by the public, unlike standard market capitalisation, which counts all shares including those held by promoters, trusts, and government entities. To calculate free-float market capitalisation, you can multiply the number of outstanding publicly traded shares by the current share price. This method helps provide a clearer picture of a company’s market value by excluding shares that are not readily available for trading on the stock exchange.

By disregarding privately owned shares, such as those held by promoters and government bodies, free-float market capitalisation offers a more precise estimation of a company’s market value as perceived by public investors. Consequently, the value derived from this method often tends to be lower than the company’s actual market capitalisation. This method enables investors and analysts to measure the true market sentiment and liquidity associated with a company’s publicly traded shares, as it reflects the portion of shares available for trading on the open market.

How to Calculate Free Float Market Capitalisation?

To calculate, you can use the following free-float market capitalisation formula:

Free-Float Market Capitalisation = (Total Number of Outstanding Shares – Number of Shares Not Available for Trading by Public)

For example, let’s consider a company with a total of 1,000,000 outstanding shares. Out of these, 100,000 shares are held by promoters, 50,000 shares are held by institutions, and the government owns 20,000 shares. The remaining shares are available for trading by the public. If the current stock price is Rs. 150:

In this scenario:

Free Float Market Capitalisation = (830,000) * 150

Free Float Market Capitalisation = Rs. 124,500,000

Examples of Free-Float Market Capitalisation

To understand the concept better, let’s consider another free-float market capitalisation example.

XYZ Corporation has 80,000 outstanding shares, each valued at Rs. 50. Among these, 40,000 shares are publicly traded, while the remaining 40,000 shares are privately owned.

Total outstanding shares multiplied by the price of each share:

80,000 x 50 = Rs. 4,000,000

Publicly owned outstanding shares multiplied by the price of each share:

40,000 x 50 = Rs. 2,000,000

This demonstrates a clear difference between the company’s market capitalisation and its free-float market capitalisation.

For companies with significant government holdings, such as XYZ Corporation, the disparity between the two values can be substantial. For instance, if a company has a large portion of its shares held by government entities, its free-float market capitalisation is likely to be much lower than its regular market capitalisation.

Advantages of Using Free-Float Market Capitalisation

Assessing the free-float market capitalisation offers several advantages over the total market capitalisation method:

  • Accurate Representation: Unlike total market capitalisation, which includes both publicly traded shares and locked-in shares, free-float market capitalisation focuses solely on shares available for trading in the stock market. This provides a more accurate representation of a company’s true value.

  • Avoids Misleading Impressions: The total market capitalisation of large-cap companies can give the impression that their shares are readily available for trading, even when many shares are privately owned and unavailable for public trading. It helps avoid such misleading impressions by considering only the shares available for trading.

  • Facilitates Broad-based Indexing: It allows for broad-based indexing, which reduces the concentration of companies with large market capitalisation values and low free floats. This ensures that index compositions accurately reflect the performance of the market and its constituent companies.

  • Simplifies Investment Decision-making: By eliminating companies with minimal shares available for trading from consideration, it makes it easier for investors to identify opportunities to invest excess funds in businesses with publicly traded shares.

Impact of Free Float Market Capitalisation on Investments

Free float market capitalisation holds significant implications, particularly in the calculation of index values:

  • Determining Benchmark Indices: In calculating benchmark indices, such as those used by stock exchanges like the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange in India, free-float market capitalisation plays a crucial role. The companies with the highest capitalisation, representing the most floating shares, are considered for inclusion as constituents of these indices.

  • Weightings in Index Constituents: Companies with larger capitalisation exert a greater influence on the index values. In other words, the market weight of a company within an index is proportional to its market capitalisation. Thus, companies with a larger free-float component have a higher market weight in the index, reflecting their prominence and impact on the overall market performance.

Relation Between Free-Float And Market Volatility

The free-float market capitalisation holds a significant relationship with market volatility, influencing trading and investor behaviour.

Market volatility, representing the risk or potential for price fluctuation of securities, is inversely proportional to the level of free float. A higher free float indicates a more stable market environment, where investors are actively buying and selling shares without significantly impacting prices. Conversely, lower free float levels suggest higher volatility, as a limited supply of shares can lead to more pronounced price fluctuations.

Traders often prefer dealing with shares from companies with higher free float levels, as it allows for smoother transactions without causing significant shifts in market prices. With enough supply and demand, traders can buy and sell shares freely, contributing to market liquidity and stability.

Understanding the relation between free float and market volatility is crucial for investors, as it helps assess the risk associated with investing in specific stocks or indices. By considering the free float level, investors can make informed decisions and manage their investment portfolios effectively in response to changing market conditions.


Understanding free-float market capitalisation is important for anyone interested in investing wisely. It helps us see the true value of a company’s shares by focusing on the ones available for buying and selling. It is a powerful tool for investors. Whether you’re new to investing or have been doing it for a while, knowing about this method can help you make better decisions with your finances.

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