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What is ‘Beta’ in the Stock Market?

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Beta in Stock Market

Do you often wonder how to choose high-growth stocks from the pool of different shares? Are you tired of missing out on the top stocks for your portfolio because of assessment gaps? 

Navigating the risk associated with your investment decisions is crucial in finance and stock markets. Beta in the share market is a hidden analysis tool that helps gauge the market volatility of a particular stock to support your investment decisions.

If you are wondering how to invest in stocks that attract high returns for your portfolio, keep reading to learn more about Beta in the stock market and how to use beta for investments.

What is Beta in the Stock Market?

Beta is a metric in the stock market that measures the systematic or market risks attached to a particular stock or your overall portfolio. In other words, it helps you understand market volatility.

Using beta for investments provides a close estimation of the movement of different stocks in the market. Simply put, it recognizes the scope of a stock going up or down in the market and assesses the risks attached to this market movement on your diversified portfolio.

Different Types of Beta for Investments in Stock Market

To understand the beta and stocks relationship, it is essential to know the different types of beta variances, which are as follows. 

  • Beta < 0 – When assessing beta in the stock market, if the beta variance is less than 0, it indicates the inverse relation between the stock and the market movement. For example, if the market rises, the movement of the stock drops and vice versa. 
  • Beta = 0 – If the beta variance equals 0, it indicates zero correlation between the market and the stock price. For example, the stock movement does not shift regardless of market fluctuation. 
  •  0 < Beta < 1 – If the beta variance is more than 0 but less than 1, it indicates a direct correlation between the market news and stock price as they move in the same direction. However, the rise or drop in the stock price is less volatile; thus, the percentage of rise or drop in the market is not the same for stocks. 
  • Beta = 1 – If the beta variance equals 1, it indicates the same market and stock price movement with the same percentage. For instance, if the market rises by 1%, the stock price rises by 1%, and vice versa.
  • Beta > 1 – If the beta variance is more than 1, it indicates a direct correlation between the market and the stock price. However, the movement percentage is higher for stock price. For instance, if the market moves up by 1%, the stock price moves up by 1.3%, making the stock more volatile.

How is Beta for Investments Calculated?

The formula to calculate beta is as follows. 

  • Beta = Covariance (stock return, market return) / Variance 


  • Beta = Difference between stock return / Difference between market return

Before we put the formula to use, let us understand what both of these components mean. 

  • Covariance measures the movement of stock and market returns when they move together. This measure can either be positive or negative, indicating their movement in the same direction or opposite. 
  • Variance – It measures the market fluctuations around the average.

Let us look at the example below to understand the beta meaning in the stock market with formula implementation. 

Expected Return on two stocks for particular market returns are provided:

Market ReturnStock return

For the above example, the beta is approximately 


Beta = Change in Stock return/ Change in Market return

=  40% -4% / 25% – 7% = 2

Beta = 2

Beta in Theory vs Beta in Practice

  • Beta in Theory
  • It considers the stock price movements against market movements, which helps you understand a stock’s volatility. 
  • Additionally, it helps you plan and diversify your portfolio with a good mix of high or low-beta stocks. 
  • Overall, beta offers detailed insights into stocks’ risk vs reward profiles.
  • Beta in Practice 
  • In practical application, beta only provides insights into a stock’s historical volatility. No future insights or predictions are a part of the beta calculation. 
  • Beta only considers market volatility in relation to market returns. However, other important factors, like trends, company fundamentals, etc., are not considered. As these factors can impact stock prices, depending solely on beta calculation in practical use may be an accurate assessment. 

Benefits of Using Beta in the Share Market

  • It helps you assess the security risks attached to any stock before investing.
  • It helps you understand the correlation between market risks and stock prices by identifying their interdependence.
  • You can calculate and invest in high-beta stocks if you are looking for significant profits.
  • For portfolio diversification, beta calculations can help you choose and invest in a favorable combination of high-beta and low-beta stocks to provide you with balanced returns. 


Beta in the stock market assists you in recognizing risks attached to a particular stock before closing on any buying and selling decision. When you correctly assess the beta and stock correlation, you can determine the market volatility of different stocks. 

However, there are better approaches than just beta for investment decisions. You must consider various factors, including company fundamentals, to make an informed decision. Moreover, gathering more knowledge about the stock market through multiple resources like bull or bear market guides and keeping yourself updated with the latest market news can prove helpful.

For added guidance, you can consult an expert SEBI-registered share market advisory firm to help you build a robust stock portfolio. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the difference between systematic and unsystematic risks in investments?

    Systematic risk, also known as market risk, affects the entire market or economy and is unavoidable through diversification. It includes risks like interest rates, recessions, and political instability. 
    Unsystematic risk, or specific risk, pertains to individual companies or sectors and can be mitigated through diversification. This includes risks such as a company's management quality, financial performance, and industry-specific challenges. 
    Investors manage these risks differently to optimise their investment portfolios.

  2. What is considered a good beta?

    When using beta in stock market, if the beta variance is equal to 1, the stock is often referred to as a smooth stock. It is considered a good beta as the market-to-stock price relation is in sync. When one rises, the other rises by the same percentage, and vice versa.

  3. What are the two key disadvantages of beta for investments?

    The two downsides of basing your investment decision on beta variance alone are as follows- 
    Beta in the stock market uses the historical movement of stock prices. However, given the lack of historical data, the beta analysis might not be the most effective when it comes to start-ups and small companies.. 
    Beta in the share market only considers the stock and market numbers and does not address the qualitative factors impacting the stock.  

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I’m Archana R. Chettiar, an experienced content creator with
an affinity for writing on personal finance and other financial content. I
love to write on equity investing, retirement, managing money, and more.

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