Risk-averse investors always look for ways to reduce their portfolio risk. Such investors prefer stocks that carry relatively lower downside risk, especially in a volatile market. A popular method of achieving this is by picking stocks with low beta. These stocks are inherently less volatile than the markets they are trading in and represent safer options.
What Does Beta Mean?
Beta measures the volatility or risks to a security relative to the market (we are considering the S&P 500 here). That is, beta measures the extent to which the price of a stock moves with respect to the market.
If the beta is equal to 1 it means that the stock is as volatile as the market. So, a stock is relatively more volatile if it has beta greater than 1 and less volatile if beta is less than 1.
For example, if the beta is 1.8 then the stock will witness 80% more movement than the market. Hence, we can say that if the market goes up, the stock will outperform by 80%. Conversely, if the market plunges, the stock will lose much more value than the market.
Building a Low-Risk Portfolio
In order to find stocks with lower-than-market volatility, we added beta between 0 and 0.6 as our main criterion for screening. However, we need to keep in mind that low beta is not the only metric to be considered for choosing stocks in a volatile market. Hence to reach the winning strategy, we have considered a few additional criteria.
Percentage Change in Price in the last 4 Weeks: We considered those stocks that saw positive price movement over the last month.
Average 20 Day Volume greater than or equal to 50,000: A substantial trading volume ensures that the stocks are easily tradable.
Price greater than or equal to $5: They must all be trading at a minimum of $5 or higher.
Zacks Rank equal to 1: Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks indicate that they will significantly outperform the broader U.S. equity market over the next one to three months.
Here are five of the 10 stocks that fit the bill:
Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. ( FDP )
Post Holdings Inc. ( POST )
FTI Consulting Inc. ( FCN )
BCE Inc. ( BCE )
Northwest Bancshares Inc. ( NWBI )
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Disclosure: Officers, directors and/or employees of Zacks Investment Research may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. An affiliated investment advisory firm may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material.
Disclosure: Performance information for Zacks' portfolios and strategies are available at:https://www.zacks.com/performance/.
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.