Stock Beta Values - Measuring Stock Volatility

By Stock Research Pro • October 2nd, 2008

Stock beta measures stock volatility, the degree to which the stock’s price moves in relation to the overall market. Stock Beta is a gauge to understand market risk in a particular stock. The measure gives you an idea of how volatile a particular stock is. Beta is the overall risk in investing in a larger market, like the New York Stock Exchange. You can also compare a stock’s beta to its sector to get a picture of whether the stock is more or less volatile than its peers.

A stock beta greater than 1 indicates increased stock volatility while those below 1 are considered to be less volatile. Stock beta is useful for getting a general idea about a particular stock in relation to the entire market. A stock beta measure is often incorporated into the valuation analysis of that security.

Stocks with a high beta should have a higher return than the market. Stocks with a beta below 1 are often seen as a safer investment and typically offer a lower return.

The issue, though, is that because stock beta looks backward it is not always an accurate predictor of the future. Beta also doesn’t tell us if the stock’s movements were more volatile during bear markets or bull markets as it doesn’t distinguish between overall market movements. While beta can help understand something about past risk, it doesn’t say much about the quality of the investment today.

Stock investors often find the best use of the beta ratio in short-term stock assessments, where price volatility is important. If you are planning to buy and sell within a short period, stock beta can be a good measure of risk.

Calculated beta values can be found on most of the major stock market websites. Typically, beta values are calculated using the month-end stock price and the month end closing price of the S&P 500 Index.


The above information is educational and should not be interpreted as financial advice. For advice that is specific to your circumstances, you should consult a financial or tax advisor.

delicious | digg | reddit | facebook | technorati | stumbleupon | chatintamil

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

« What is a Value Stock? | Home | The Decision to Sell Stock »