Here is a refresher on what beta is:
Beta (β) is a measure of the volatility—or systematic risk—of a security or portfolio compared to the market as a whole (usually the S&P 500 ). Stocks with betas higher than 1.0 can be interpreted as more volatile than the S&P 500 .
Beta is used in the capital asset pricing model (CAPM), which describes the relationship between systematic risk and expected return for assets (usually stocks). CAPM is widely used as a method for pricing risky securities and for generating estimates of the expected returns of assets, considering both the risk of those assets and the cost of capital.
How Beta Works
A beta coefficient can measure the volatility of an individual stock compared to the systematic risk of the entire market. In statistical terms, beta represents the slope of the line through a regression of data points. In finance, each of these data points represents an individual stock's returns against those of the market as a whole.
Beta effectively describes the activity of a security's returns as it responds to swings in the market. A security's beta is calculated by dividing the product of the covariance of the security's returns and the market's returns by the variance of the market's returns over a specified period.
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