Alpha and Beta of Stocks

alpha beta of stock market


Alpha and Beta of Stocks

Every investment involves two important aspects – returns and risk. And every investor wants to get the maximum returns with minimum risk. In this post is described the significance of Alpha and beta parameters of the stock portfolio that are used to describe the two main risks inherent in investing in stocks. Alpha relates to factors affecting the performance of an individual stock or the fund manager’s skill in selecting the stocks while beta relates to market risks.

Alpha of a stock or portfolio:

Alpha is the risk-adjusted return on an investment. It is excess return of a stock portfolio or fund over a given benchmark and hence is usually used to measure the performance of fund manager in managing the fund portfolio. So usually an investor’s strategy should be to buy securities with positive alpha as these may be undervalued.

If an investment outperformed the benchmark, that means more reward for a given amount of risk. In that case α > 0.

If an investment underperformed the benchmark; that means the investment has earned too little for its risk. In that case α < 0.

For efficient markets, the expected value of the alpha is zero. i.e α = 0 and the investment has earned a return adequate for the risk taken.

Fund managers are rated according to how much alpha their fund generates. It is thus a measure of the fund manager’s ability to generate profits in excess of market returns. Fund managers are usually paid in accordance to how much alpha their fund generates. Higher the alpha, the higher is their fees.

Beta of stock portfolio:

Beta is a measure of a volatility of a stock and expresses the relation of movement of stock with the movement of market as a whole. The S & P 500 Index is assigned a Beta of 1. So a stock can have positive or negative value of beta.

If Beta = 1; that means security’s price will move in sync with the market.

If Beta is positive; that means stock moves more than the market and is more volatile.

If Beta is negative; that means stock moves less than the market and is less volatile.

High-beta stocks are generally riskier being more volatile but provide a potential for higher returns as these are in the early stages of growth. On other side low-beta stocks pose less risk and hence lower returns. Usually utilities stocks have a beta of less than 1 while high-tech stocks have a beta of greater than 1.

Having gone through the fundamentals of alpha and beta; it can be inferred that low beta and high alpha stocks are good. But blindly following this concept is not desirable because these parameters are calculated based on historical data and history is never the indicator of future performance of a stock portfolio.

Happy Trading !

Renuka Kinger


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12 Responses to “Alpha and Beta of Stocks”

  1. Very rightly said. Along with this just a small addition that the more is the siska with highly volatile stocks but the gain is equally higher. So in case one needs t go for a high risk and high gain than volatality of stock can be a good parameter to judge

  2. satya says:

    I have no idea about alpha ,beta going through this know about alpha and beta. informative

  3. Pawar says:

    dont understand the concept of alpha and beta, examples would be helpful

  4. Ajay says:

    Hi,Margin tading was very well represented and was fully understood…but this one would take some time …please give an example.

  5. sunil says:

    some examples should b there to make us understand more clearly

  6. Rajkumar Verlekar says:

    please illustrate with examples of companies performing well and not well

  7. Rajkumar Verlekar says:

    being a fresher in world of stocks would like to gain more knowledge of topic

  8. Ziaullah says:

    Please provide examples for better understanding

  9. s r das says:

    very clear. understood easily. thanks

  10. Deepesh says:

    Full to bouncer, no idea what alpha and beta of stock means.

    S R Das, dont lie man, what was very clear. Lier

  11. chaitanya says:

    good information thanks

  12. Rajeev Singh says:

    well explained

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