Trading High-Beta Stocks: Risk vs. Reward

Progress buyers and buyers with high-risk tolerance could also be all for high-growth, high-beta shares. Excessive-beta shares can generate excessive returns but in addition have vital draw back dangers when markets fall. Understanding beta and its makes use of might be vital for progress buyers looking for to determine the best-performing shares.

Key Takeaways

  • Excessive beta shares are positively correlated with returns of the S&P 500, however at an amplified magnitude.
  • These shares outperform in bull markets however can underperform in bear markets.
  • Excessive beta shares are sometimes small to mid-cap shares which are maturing with vital volatility round new bulletins and traits.

Understanding Beta

Beta is a statistical measure of a inventory’s relative volatility to the broader market, sometimes the S&P 500, the place it will probably measure danger. A inventory’s beta is discovered by way of regression evaluation that infers the correlation in worth modifications within the inventory to the S&P 500. A beta of 1.0 signifies {that a} inventory’s volatility is parallel to the market and can usually transfer in tandem with the index and on the similar magnitudes.

A beta above 1.0 means the inventory could have larger volatility than the market, and a beta lower than 1.0 signifies decrease volatility. Volatility is normally an indicator of danger, and better betas imply greater danger, whereas decrease betas imply decrease danger. Shares with greater betas could achieve extra in upward markets however lose extra in downward markets.

Covariance is the measure of a inventory’s return relative to that of the market. Variance is the measure of how the market strikes relative to its imply.

Investing in Excessive-Beta Shares

Excessive-beta shares might be nice investments in bull markets since they’re anticipated to outperform the S&P 500 however require quite a lot of lively administration due to their market sensitivity. These are extremely risky and dangerous investments in isolation. In a bear market reversal, shares might be anticipated to lose probably the most. Excessive-beta shares are typically not long-term buy-and-hold investments.

For progress in a portfolio, an investor will seemingly select shares with a beta above 1, offering a larger probability of a better return for assuming the upper danger of shedding worth when the market goes down. Buyers can hedge this volatility by including quite a lot of shares near 1, relying on their danger tolerance. Buyers who predict the market to maneuver downward may also take a look at shares with unfavourable betas.

Examples of Excessive-Beta Shares

As of Feb. 2023, these three shares have betas round 2.0 and are members of the S&P 500 index.

Superior Micro Gadgets (AMD)

AMD is a semiconductor firm that makes chipsets and microchips, competing with Intel and Qualcomm. In Feb. 2023, its market cap was $126.57 billion. The corporate is riskier than most S&P 500 shares, with a beta of 1.98.


Nvidia Company is an American multinational expertise firm based in 1993, included in Delaware, and based mostly in Santa Clara, California. As of Feb. 2023, its market cap was $532.99 billion, and its beta was 1.79.


Etsy is the worldwide market for distinctive and inventive items, connecting patrons and sellers from practically each nation. As of Feb. 2023, Etsy’s market cap was $16.3 billion and had a beta of 1.86.

Limitations and Dangers of Excessive-Beta Shares

An investor will want extra data than beta to evaluate whether or not a inventory belongs within the portfolio. Beta doesn’t account for traits or information occasions that will affect a inventory. Shares with excessive betas are extra risky than the general market, and beta doesn’t predict the course of a inventory’s worth or take into account the corporate’s power.

What Does a Excessive Beta Inform Buyers?

A inventory that strikes greater than the market over time has a beta larger than 1.0. If a inventory strikes lower than the market, the inventory’s beta is lower than 1.0. Excessive-beta shares have a tendency to be riskier however present the potential for greater returns. Low-beta shares pose much less danger however sometimes yield decrease returns.

How Does Beta Measure Danger?

Beta is usually used as a risk-reward measure, which means it helps buyers decide how a lot danger they’re keen to take to realize a return for taking over that danger. 

How Does Beta Correspond to the S&P 500 Index?

The beta of the S&P 500 is 1. A inventory that’s extremely correlated to the S&P 500 may also have a beta of 1. If the S&P 500 index is up in each day buying and selling, the inventory is most definitely going to be up for that day.

The Backside Line

Excessive-beta shares require lively administration. They’re additionally usually small to mid-cap shares maturing with vital volatility round new bulletins and traits. Investing in high-growth, high-beta shares include excessive dangers, so buyers usually search to steadiness them with lower-risk portfolio holdings and money liquidity.