Stock Market

A Timeline of Indian Stock Market's Biggest Bull Runs

Created on 26 Nov 2020

Wraps up in 8 Min

Read by 23.5k people

Updated on 10 Jun 2024

Biggest Bull Runs of Indian Stock Market

Being an equity investor, you would have heard of Indian stock markets tanking down whenever there is an unveiling of a new scam. This might turn you away from investing in the equities market for that specific time. But every sunset paves the way for a new sunrise. 

Similarly, the stock market also rises after falling tremendously. Some good economic reforms or an increase in foreign investments could be a catalyst for this event.

India, being a developed nation, has witnessed some bullish periods since 1980.

What is a Bull Run?

The term "Bull market" refers to a period when stocks follow an upward trend. In layman's terms, this means that the stocks chase an upward surge faster than their expected rate. 

In a bullish market, investors' sentiments are positive. People are highly optimistic about the markets, and they love to park their money in equities, considering them a safe haven. Mid- and small-cap companies gain the maximum advantage of this optimism. 

Companies grow at an accelerated rate, and following this trend, new companies list themselves on the stock exchange. During this time period, the nation's economy also improves, which attracts a large amount of foreign direct investments. 

So, what were the time periods of such bull runs in India?

SENSEX returns from 1986-2020

SENSEX returns from 1986-2020


An Outlook of Bull Runs in India

1990-92: The Mother of all Bull Runs

The first bull run started on 25 July 1990, when the SENSEX crossed the four-digit figure for the first time and closed at 1001 from 920 on 1 July 1990. This surge happened due to excellent corporate results and good monsoons. 

While the nation was experiencing an economic crisis in 1991, the market was rallying at a staggering rate.

In January 1991, SENSEX rose from 1027 to 4500 in April 1992, a ~350% return in just 14 months. This means investments grew at a rate of 4.5 times; an investment of Rs 1 Lacs would have become Rs 4.5 Lacs in only 14 months. 

On January 15 1992, the SENSEX crossed 2000 mark and was closed at a level of 2020, followed by liberal policies like liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation of Indian economy introduced by the then Finance minister, Dr Manmohan Singh. To barge in a vast amount of capital, the economy was now made open to foreign investors.

On February 29 1992, the SENSEX touched a new high of 3200 due to the market-friendly budget introduced by the then finance minister Dr Manmohan Singh. Similarly, following the liberal import-export policy, the SENSEX closed at 4091 on March 30, 1992.

But the main reason behind SENSEX touching new heights every day was Harshad Shantilal Mehta. He manipulated the stock market so much that stocks like ACC went from the price of 200 to 9000 in just three months. The situation was such that a sum of Rs 10 thousand invested would have become Rs 4.5 Lacs in only three months, a much better scheme than Laxmi Chit Fund!

Click here to know how Harshad Mehta manipulated the stock market in 1992 and caused one of the most infamous stock market scams.

Everyone thought that the Indian stock market was a “Goose laying golden eggs”. You could find your barbers tipping you on which stocks to buy or which to sell. But only a few knew that they were sitting on the tip of an iceberg, which was about to melt soon. Once the Harshad Mehta scam came to limelight, the stock market crashed by 50% in just four months.

 It took SENSEX five years to reach the April’ 92 high of 4500. In Aug of 1997, SENSEX was at an all-time high of 4605.

1998 - 2000: An Era of Tech Boom

India conducted Pokhran tests, and the world reacted by putting economic sanctions on India. Due to this, SENSEX had crashed and fell to 2740 in October’98.

On October 8 1999, SENSEX boomed and transversed the mark of 5000 due to the formation of BJP led coalition in the 13th Lok Sabha election. The Indian stock market was ready to set its pace for another hike in this era. 

On February 11 2000, the SENSEX crossed the 6000 mark and closed at an all-time high of 6006 due to the infotech boom. In just 16 months, the market gave returns of 118% from its low. Money grew by 2.1 times, your sum of Rs 1 Lacs invested would become Rs 2.1 Lacs in tenure of 16 months. The global markets went crazy; people invested insanely in tech companies, thinking they had found some kind of a golden vault.

The market once again went crazy when the stock price of companies like Wipro went from Rs 13.8 in January’ 99 to Rs 334.8 in February 2000 and Infosys, following a price hike of Rs 11.59 in January’ 99 grew to Rs 140.43 on February 25 2000. 

Another well-known company Pentafour Software (now Pentamedia Graphics) saw a surge of 364% in its stock price from Jan’99 to Feb’2000.   

Many fraud companies attached a dot com at their end just to attract investors. Tech stocks were trading at relatively higher valuations, and the market needed to correct itself. 

Following this correction, when major fraud companies got exposed, the market crashed by 36.15% in just three months.

Wipro Share price from 1999 to 2020

Wipro's share price from 1999 to 2020; notice the spike in its stock price in 1999.

Source: Google

Pentafour Software share price chart from 1999 to 2020

Pentafour Software share price chart from 1999 to 2020. Look how it went high in 1999.

Source: Google

SENSEX further fell to 2590 when 9/11 happened, and the World Trade Center was attacked.

 It took SENSEX 4 years to reach the February high of 6000. In January 2004, SENSEX was at an all-time high of 6250.

Finology Quest

2004 -2008: Resurgence of the Real estate around the world

During this time, India was one of the fastest-growing economies, cloaking a growth of 8-9% per annum. Infra, Pharma and FMCG stocks surged. SENSEX rallied from 6250 in January 2004 to 21,200 in January 2008. In 4 years, the market gave 236% returns; money grew at 3.4 times its investment. 

On June 20 2005, the SENSEX crossed 7000 points for the first time, following the settlement between the Ambani brothers. This deal boosted the investors’ sentiment and inflated the stock price of RIL, Reliance Capital, Reliance Energy and IPCL. 

S&P BSE Realty Index

S&P BSE Realty Index: Notice the insane growth in 2007.

Source: Google

Reliance Capital share chart

Reliance Capital share chart. Witness the spike from June 20, 2005, on account of settlement.

Source: Google  

Just like every short-lived happiness, this bull run left a long-lasting pain once the 2008 global financial crisis happened. Many other scams like 2G, Coal Gate, and Vyapam scam came to light in India.

Meanwhile, Greece was on the verge of default, which panicked the foreign investors. These incidents tanked the SENSEX to 15100 by December 2008.   

SENSEX crossed the 21,000 mark with a colossal jump, reaching a peak of 21,078 on November 5 2010. This was on account of US market touching its all-time high, which made foreign investors pump a tremendous amount of money in the Indian economy. 

This surge rallied the stock prices of the banking and financial sectors. This record was maintained for the next three years, and SENSEX closed at 21,033.97 points on October 30, 2013.

2013 -14: India rebounds its direction under BJP

On May 13 2014, SENSEX reached 24,000 points due to the exit poll results which depicted that BJP would form the government at the centre. India had been waiting for a leader like Narendra Modi, who could reform the financial situation of the country for a long time. 

Following this trend, SENSEX crossed the 26,000 mark on July 7, 2014, when the government anticipated a budget that could change its direction towards becoming a developed nation.

With the Reserve Bank cutting down its repo rates, SENSEX crossed the 30,000 mark on March 4, 2014. This event triggered liquidity in the market, and loans became cheap.

Increase in Foreign inflows since 2014

Increase in Foreign inflows since 2014.


2017-2020: Small Stocks Take Big Leaps

The year 2017 was the year when the BSE smallcap index gained 59.64% while the BSE midcap index zoomed 48.13% the following year. Domestic flows have been the primary reason for such a robust performance of the market. Stronger rupee helped FII report better returns in dollar terms. 

From 2014 onwards, with a stable government in the centre, business optimism also improved drastically. This boosted the infrastructural projects, and many mergers took place during this time. 

Several debt areas were loosened, and significant reforms in the economy were introduced. These events triggered a multiplier effect on the economy. Cyclical sectors like housing, realty, infrastructure, construction, banking and automobiles went up. 

Stocks like Graphite India, Bhansali Engineering, Avanti Feeds, Bombay Dyeing and V2 retail climbed between 300% to 800% during this period. Some Midcaps stocks like HEG and Indiabulls ventures reacted “as mad as a March hare” by surging over 1000% each. 

Demonetisation also surged up the stock price as people were investing heavily in the markets to hide their wealth.

The rallying up of HEG stock price in 2017-18

The rallying up of HEG stock price in 2017-18

Source: Google 

Bombay Dyeing stock surge in 2017-18

Bombay Dyeing stock surge in 2017-18

Source: Google

After 2018 

Both SENSEX and NIFTY witnessed a substantial jump in May 2019 after the exit poll results depicted that Narendra Modi’s government might retain its ruling power over the central government. SENSEX recorded the highest closing figure of 39,352. 

September 20, 2019, spectated another jump of 2.83% when the finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman announced a cut-down in corporate tax rates from 30% to 22% for domestic companies. This move was aimed towards boosting the Indian economy. 

2020 and the tensions surrounding COVID-19

On March 21 2020, the SENSEX tanked 31% from March 1 when the COVID-19 induced lockdown was announced. The market crashed laboriously as the foreign and retail investors went on a selling spree. Everyone wanted to cash out their money before the market could crash even further. 

However, it took only four months for the market to reach its pre-COVID level. Following a buying spree, the stocks were trading at a relatively higher price. 

The situation is such that people are now ready to buy stocks at a premium price irrespective of understanding the nature of the economy. Pharma and tech companies are currently in a boom.

The stock market tanking down in March

The stock market tanked down in March

Source: Google


Warren Buffet once said - “Be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful”. Ensuing this investment mantra, one should invest in looking at the market sentiments first.

Many people in the stock market are mere speculators, and they often invest following the herd or on tips given by other people. Once the market corrects, the speculators lose their hard-earned money following a fallacious message that investments in the stock market are pure gambling. 

A stock grows with dazzling returns only in a few months. It does not always happen that the stock is posting growth every month without falling. Since no one can time the market; therefore, one should stay invested for a longer period to gain an exceptional return. 

Also, it is advisable to look at a company’s valuation with respect to its following index and economy to get a better insight into that particular company. An equity market is the best place to park your savings, only if done by putting your emotions and greed aside!

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Ayushi Upadhyay

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A Keen Learner. Tiny, brainy, and studious, this quiet one stays in her zone until she pops. And once she does, boy, are her comebacks snappy! There is no financial question that she can't answer through her magical blog-writing. 

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