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Beta in Indian stocks – Types, Should you invest in high beta stocks?

Written by - Marisha Bhatt

June 7, 2023 8 minutes

Stock markets have the highest risk of investment but are also known to provide the highest returns as compared to any other investment option over longer periods of time. This notion is well accepted even by the average investor across the world. However, investors can choose to invest in stocks after measuring the overall risk of investment which is measured using market indicators. This is where the beta of the stock is analyzed and used to make investment decisions. Here are more details about meaning of the term beta in Indian, their types and if you should invest in high beta stocks. 

Read More: Alpha & Beta in mutual funds – All you need to know 

What is the meaning of beta in stock markets?

Beta is a measure that helps investors understand how much a particular stock moves in relation to the overall stock market i.e. It provides information about the stock’s volatility or how much its price tends to go up or down when the market moves. 

A beta of 1 implies that the stock moves in sync with the market. 

While a beta higher than 1 (e.g., 1.5) indicates the stock is more volatile than the market. A beta lower than 1 (e.g., 0.8) implies that the stock is less volatile. 

Higher beta stocks have more potential for gains and losses, while lower beta stocks are more stable. Investors use beta to assess the risk associated with a stock and thereby create their investment portfolio to suit their risk profile. 

What are the types of beta in stock markets?

The different types of beta in stock markets are mentioned below.

β > 1 (Beta greater than 1)

Stocks with a beta value greater than 1 are considered high beta stocks. These stocks tend to perform better than the overall market. When the market goes up, these stocks have the potential to generate substantial profits. However, high-beta stocks also come with higher risks. Their prices can be more volatile, and there is a possibility of a significant price drop to align with the market’s average.

β < 1 (Beta lower than 1)

Stocks with a beta value lower than 1 are known as low-beta stocks. These stocks tend to perform lower or closer to the overall market. While the returns from low beta stocks may not be as high as high beta stocks, they are often considered more stable. They come with a lower risk factor and are known for providing steady returns. Low-beta stocks are considered stable investments that can withstand market volatility and appeal more to risk-averse investors.

β = 1 (Beta equal to 1)

A beta value equal to 1 indicates that a stock is ideally correlated with the stock market or a specific market index. These stocks are often referred to as having a market beta. They tend to have a parallel effect on share prices and returns with the fluctuations in the market or the corresponding index. Stocks of large-cap companies commonly have a beta value close to 1, as they form a significant part of market indices.

β < 0 (Negative beta)

Some securities, other than stocks, can have a beta value of less than 0. For example, gold is often associated with a negative beta value, suggesting that its value may rise over time regardless of how the stock market performs. These securities provide investors with a hedge against a stock market crash or offer diversification benefits. They are typically chosen by investors looking for alternative investments to protect their portfolios.

β = 0 (Zero beta)

Investment instruments with no associated risks or fluctuations typically exhibit a beta value of 0. Examples include government bonds, fixed deposits, cash, and other low-risk financial instruments that are not affected by market fluctuations. These options are considered ideal for individuals seeking capital security and are less influenced by market movements.

What are the pros and cons of investing in beta stocks?

There are many pros and cons of investing in beta stocks. Investors should analyse them before making investment decisions. These benefits and shortcomings are discussed hereunder.


The benefits or advantages of investing in beta stocks are mentioned below.

Potential for Higher Returns

High Beta stocks have the potential to deliver superior returns compared to the overall market. These stocks often outperform during periods of market growth and positive economic conditions. 

When the market is on an upward trend, beta stocks can experience significant price appreciation, allowing investors to earn higher profits. This potential for higher returns makes beta stocks attractive to investors seeking greater growth opportunities and significant capital appreciation.

Opportunities for Active Traders

Beta stocks are known for their greater price fluctuations, which creates opportunities for active traders. These stocks often exhibit more pronounced price movements, providing short-term trading opportunities for those who actively buy and sell securities. The higher trading volume and liquidity associated with beta stocks make it easier for active traders to execute their trades quickly, potentially capitalizing on short-term price fluctuations and generating profits.

Diversification Benefits

Including beta stocks in a well-diversified portfolio can provide diversification benefits. Beta stocks may have different price movements compared to other stocks or asset classes, meaning they can behave independently of the broader market. 

By adding beta stocks to a portfolio that includes other investments, such as bonds or non-high beta stocks, investors can potentially reduce overall portfolio risk. This diversification can help offset losses in other investments and improve risk-adjusted returns. Beta stocks offer the potential for diversification due to their different market dynamics, industry exposure, or company-specific factors.


The shortcomings of investing in beta stocks are mentioned below. 

Higher Volatility and Risk

Beta stocks are generally more volatile than the overall market, meaning their prices can experience larger and more frequent fluctuations. This increased volatility introduces higher investment risk. 

Potential for Greater Losses

Due to their higher volatility, beta stocks come with an increased risk of experiencing substantial losses. When market conditions turn unfavorable, these stocks can decline more sharply than the broader market.

The potential for greater losses in beta stocks is a significant consideration for investors, as severe downturns can result in significant portfolio losses if not managed effectively. Investors must be aware of the potential downside risk associated with investing in beta stocks.

Challenges in Timing the Market

Successfully investing in beta stocks requires accurate market timing. These stocks often exhibit rapid and unpredictable price movements, making it difficult to identify the optimal entry and exit points. Timing the market correctly is notoriously challenging, and mistimed trades can result in losses rather than gains. Investors must have a deep understanding of market dynamics and the ability to interpret and respond to market trends effectively to maximize their returns from beta stocks.

Increased Monitoring and Research Requirements

Investing in beta stocks typically demands more active monitoring and research due to their higher volatility. Investors need to stay updated with market trends, company news, and industry developments that can impact the performance of beta stocks. This increased monitoring and research effort can be demanding and time-consuming, requiring investors to dedicate sufficient time and resources to stay informed and make well-informed investment decisions.


The beta in stocks is one of the crucial parameters to evaluate the market conditions and the stock movements in the face of these conditions. Understanding the beta of stocks also helps investors understand their own risk appetite and create their investment portfolio accordingly. Investors with a low-risk appetite prefer to invest in low-beta stocks while investors with a higher risk appetite can invest in high-beta stocks to gain higher returns and take advantage of market volatility. 


1. Is it good to invest in high-beta stocks?

The decision to invest in high-beta stocks will depend on the individual risk appetite of the investor. These stocks can be a good investment option for investors with higher risk appetite as it allows them to take advantage of market fluctuations and increase the overall returns of their portfolio. However, they should also be wary of the potential risk of investing in such stocks.

2. What are examples of low-beta stocks?

Large-cap stocks or blue-chip stocks are classic examples of low-beta stocks as they are less affected due to market volatility and can provide more stable returns to investors.

3. What is the meaning of zero beta securities?

Zero beta securities are assets that are not affected by market fluctuations and can primarily provide capital assurance to investors.

4. What is the basic difference between the alpha and beta stocks?

The basic difference between the alpha and beta stocks is that the former evaluates the excess return generated by a stock or portfolio above what is expected based on its market risk. Beta stocks, on the other hand, focus on the relationship between a stock’s price movements and the overall market’s price movements. While alpha measures the stock or portfolio performance relative to the market, beta is the measure of the assessing the volatility and risk of a stock.

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