Up to date on February fifteenth, 2023 by Bob Ciura

On the earth of investing, volatility issues. Buyers are reminded of this each time there’s a downturn within the broader market and particular person shares which might be extra risky than others expertise huge swings in value.

Volatility is a proxy for threat; extra volatility typically means a riskier portfolio. The volatility of a safety or portfolio towards a benchmark known as Beta.

In brief, Beta is measured by way of a system that calculates the worth threat of a safety or portfolio towards a benchmark, which is often the broader market as measured by the S&P 500.

Right here’s find out how to learn inventory betas:

  • A beta of 1.0 means the inventory strikes equally with the S&P 500
  • A beta of two.0 means the inventory strikes twice as a lot because the S&P 500
  • A beta of 0.0 means the shares strikes don’t correlate with the S&P 500
  • A beta of -1.0 means the inventory strikes exactly reverse the S&P 500

Curiously, low beta shares have traditionally outperformed the market… However extra on that later.

You may obtain a spreadsheet of the 100 lowest beta shares (together with vital monetary metrics like price-to-earnings ratios and dividend yields) beneath:


This text will focus on beta extra totally, why low-beta shares are inclined to outperform, and supply a dialogue of the 5 lowest-beta dividend shares within the Positive Evaluation Analysis Database. The desk of contents beneath permits for straightforward navigation.

Desk of Contents

The Proof for Low Beta Shares Outperformance

Beta is useful in understanding the general value threat stage for traders throughout market downturns specifically. The decrease the Beta worth, the much less volatility the inventory or portfolio ought to exhibit towards the benchmark. That is useful for traders for apparent causes, notably these which might be near or already in retirement, as drawdowns must be comparatively restricted towards the benchmark.

Importantly, low or high Beta merely measures the scale of the strikes a safety makes; it doesn’t imply essentially that the worth of the safety stays almost fixed. Certainly, securities may be low Beta and nonetheless be caught in long-term downtrends, so that is merely yet one more instrument traders can use when constructing a portfolio.

The traditional knowledge would counsel that decrease Beta shares ought to underperform the broader markets throughout uptrends and outperform throughout downtrends, providing traders decrease potential returns in change for decrease threat.

Nevertheless, historical past would counsel that merely isn’t the case. Certainly, this paper from Harvard Enterprise College means that not solely do low Beta shares not underperform the broader market over time – together with all market circumstances – they really outperform.

A protracted-term research whereby the shares with the bottom 30% of Beta scores within the US have been pitted towards shares with the very best 30% of Beta scores advised that low Beta shares outperform by a number of proportion factors yearly.

Over time, this kind of outperformance can imply the distinction between a cushty retirement and having to proceed working. Whereas low Beta shares aren’t a panacea, the case for his or her outperformance over time – and with decrease threat – is sort of compelling.

How To Calculate Beta

The system to calculate a safety’s Beta is pretty simple. The end result, expressed as a quantity, reveals the safety’s tendency to maneuver with the benchmark.

For instance, a Beta worth of 1.0 implies that the safety in query ought to transfer in lockstep with the benchmark. A Beta of two.0 implies that strikes within the safety must be twice as giant in magnitude because the benchmark and in the identical route, whereas a damaging Beta implies that actions within the safety and benchmark have a tendency to maneuver in reverse instructions or are negatively correlated.

Associated: The S&P 500 Stocks With Negative Beta.

In different phrases, negatively correlated securities can be anticipated to rise when the general market falls, or vice versa. A small worth of Beta (one thing lower than 1.0) signifies a inventory that strikes in the identical route because the benchmark, however with smaller relative modifications.

Right here’s a take a look at the system:

Beta Formula

The numerator is the covariance of the asset in query with the market, whereas the denominator is the variance of the market. These complicated-sounding variables aren’t really that tough to compute – particularly in Excel.

Moreover, Beta can be calculated because the correlation coefficient of the safety in query and the market, multiplied by the safety’s normal deviation divided by the market’s normal deviation.

Lastly, there’s a enormously simplified method to calculate Beta by manipulating the capital asset pricing mannequin system (extra on Beta and the capital asset pricing mannequin later on this article).

Right here’s an instance of the information you’ll have to calculate Beta:

  • Danger-free price (usually Treasuries at the least two years out)
  • Your asset’s price of return over some interval (usually one 12 months to 5 years)
  • Your benchmark’s price of return over the identical interval because the asset

To point out find out how to use these variables to do the calculation of Beta, we’ll assume a risk-free price of two%, our inventory’s price of return of seven% and the benchmark’s price of return of 8%.

You begin by subtracting the risk-free price of return from each the safety in query and the benchmark. On this case, our asset’s price of return web of the risk-free price can be 5% (7% – 2%). The identical calculation for the benchmark would yield 6% (8% – 2%).

These two numbers – 5% and 6%, respectively – are the numerator and denominator for the Beta system. 5 divided by six yields a price of 0.83, and that’s the Beta for this hypothetical safety. On common, we’d anticipate an asset with this Beta worth to be 83% as risky because the benchmark.

Occupied with it one other method, this asset must be about 17% much less risky than the benchmark whereas nonetheless having its anticipated returns correlated in the identical route.

Beta & The Capital Asset Pricing Mannequin (CAPM)

The Capital Asset Pricing Mannequin, or CAPM, is a typical investing system that makes use of the Beta calculation to account for the time worth of cash in addition to the risk-adjusted returns anticipated for a selected asset.

Beta is an integral part of the CAPM as a result of with out it, riskier securities would seem extra favorable to potential traders. Their threat wouldn’t be accounted for within the calculation.

The CAPM system is as follows:

CAPM Formula

The variables are outlined as:

  • ERi = Anticipated return of funding
  • Rf = Danger-free price
  • βi = Beta of the funding
  • ERm = Anticipated return of market

The danger-free price is similar as within the Beta system, whereas the Beta that you just’ve already calculated is solely positioned into the CAPM system. The anticipated return of the market (or benchmark) is positioned into the parentheses with the market threat premium, which can also be from the Beta system. That is the anticipated benchmark’s return minus the risk-free price.

To proceed our instance, right here is how the CAPM really works:

ER = 2% + 0.83(8% – 2%)

On this case, our safety has an anticipated return of 6.98% towards an anticipated benchmark return of 8%. Which may be okay relying upon the investor’s objectives because the safety in query ought to expertise much less volatility than the market because of its Beta of lower than 1. Whereas the CAPM actually isn’t good, it’s comparatively simple to calculate and provides traders a method of comparability between two funding options.

Now, we’ll check out 5 shares that not solely provide traders low Beta scores, however enticing potential returns as nicely.

Evaluation On The Prime 5 Low Beta Shares

The next 5 low beta shares have the bottom (however optimistic) Beta values, in ascending order from lowest to highest. In addition they pay dividends to shareholders. We centered on Betas above 0, as we’re nonetheless on the lookout for shares which might be positively correlated with the broader market:

5. CF Industries (CF)

CF Industries manufactures and distributes nitrogen fertilizer merchandise worldwide. Its major merchandise embody ammonium nitrate, urea ammonium nitrate resolution, granular urea, and anhydrous ammonia. It additionally affords non-fertilizer merchandise like diesel exhaust fluid, nitric acid, and urea liquor. CF Industries distributes its merchandise by way of cooperatives, merchants, wholesalers, farmers, and industrial clients.

CF reported third quarter earnings on November 2nd, 2022, and outcomes have been weaker than anticipated on each the highest and backside traces. Earnings-per-share got here to $2.18, which missed estimates by $1.32. As well as, whereas income soared 71% increased to $2.32 billion, however missed estimates by $70 million. Common promoting costs have been increased throughout all segments as soon as once more attributable to lower international provide availability.

Larger international power prices diminished international working charges and geopolitical elements disrupted international fertilizer provide. Gross sales volumes have been increased than 2021 attributable to increased beginning inventories.

Pure fuel was $8.35 per MMBtu, which was double the $4.21 from the year-ago interval as international power prices proceed to soar. Internet earnings have been $438 million, up from a $185 million web loss in the identical interval of 2021. EBITDA was $826 million, which was up enormously from -$10 million a 12 months in the past.


CF has a Beta rating of 0.54.

Click here to download our most recent Sure Analysis report on CF Industries (preview of web page 1 of three proven beneath):

4. Pfizer Inc. (PFE)

Pfizer Inc. is a world pharmaceutical firm that focuses on pharmaceuticals and vaccines. With a market capitalization above $200 billion, Pfizer is a mega-cap stock.

Pfizer’s prime merchandise are Eliquis, Ibrance, Prevnar, Enebrel (worldwide), Sutent, Xtandi, Vyndaqel/ Vyndamax, Inlyta, Xeljanz, Plaxlovid, and Comiranty. Pfizer had income of $81.3B in 2021.

Pfizer reported strong 2022 outcomes:

Supply: Investor Presentation

For the fourth quarter, Pfizer reported This autumn 2022 and full 12 months outcomes on January thirty first, 2023. Companywide income rose 2% to $24,290M from $23,838M and adjusted diluted earnings per share rose 45% to $1.14 versus $0.79 on a year-over-year foundation. Diluted GAAP earnings per share rose 48% to $0.87 from $0.59 in comparable quarters.

PFE has a Beta rating of 0.54.

Click here to download our most recent Sure Analysis report on Pfizer (preview of web page 1 of three proven beneath):

3. AT&T Inc. (T)

AT&T is a big telecommunications firm serving over 100 million clients. The corporate generated $169 billion in income in 2021.

In April 2022, AT&T accomplished the spin-off of WarnerMedia to type the brand new firm Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD). AT&T shareholders acquired 0.241917 shares of WBD for each 1 share of AT&T they held.

Associated: Communication Services Stocks List | The 5 Best Now

Supply: Investor Presentation

In late January, AT&T reported (1/25/23) monetary outcomes for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022. The corporate grew its income 1% over the prior 12 months’s quarter because of sturdy buyer additions throughout its rising 5G wi-fi and fiber networks. The corporate is investing within the enlargement of its 5G and fiber networks at a report tempo.

AT&T posted 280,000 fiber web additions and thus it has posted greater than 200,000 additions per quarter for 12 consecutive quarters. It additionally posted 656,000 postpaid cellphone web additions. Furthermore, it grew its wi-fi revenues by 5.2% and its client broadband revenues by 7.2%.

Adjusted earnings-per-share grew 9%, from $0.56 to $0.61, and beat the analyst consensus by $0.04. AT&T offered steerage for adjusted earnings-per-share of $2.35-$2.45 in 2023.

AT&T has a Beta rating of 0.50.

Click here to download our most recent Sure Analysis report on AT&T (preview of web page 1 of three proven beneath):

2. DaVita Inc. (DVA)

DaVita offers kidney dialysis providers for sufferers affected by power kidney failure or finish stage renal illness. The corporate operates kidney dialysis facilities and offers associated lab providers in outpatient dialysis facilities. DaVita inventory doesn’t pay a dividend.

As a constituent of Berkshire Hathaway’s funding portfolio, DaVita is a Warren Buffett stock.

DVA has a Beta rating of 0.48.

1. Verizon Communications (VZ)

Verizon Communications is among the largest wi-fi carriers within the nation. Wi-fi contributes three-quarters of all revenues, and broadband and cable providers account for a few quarter of gross sales. The corporate’s community covers ~300 million individuals and 98% of the U.S.

On January twenty fifth, 2023, Verizon introduced earnings outcomes for the fourth quarter and full 12 months for the interval ending December thirty first, 2022.

Supply: Investor Presentation

For the quarter, income grew 3.5% to $35.3 billion, which topped estimates by $160 million. Adjusted earnings-per-share of $1.19 in contrast unfavorably to $1.11 within the prior 12 months, however was in-line with expectations.

For 2022, income improved 2.4% to $136.8 billion whereas adjusted earnings-per-share fell to $5.06 from $5.39 within the earlier 12 months.

VZ has a Beta rating of 0.37.

Click here to download our most recent Sure Analysis report on VZ (preview of web page 1 of three proven beneath):

Remaining Ideas

Buyers should take threat under consideration when deciding on from potential investments. In spite of everything, if two securities are in any other case related by way of anticipated returns however one affords a a lot decrease Beta, the investor would do nicely to pick the low Beta safety as they might provide higher risk-adjusted returns.

Utilizing Beta may help traders decide which securities will produce extra volatility than the broader market and which of them could assist diversify a portfolio, akin to those listed right here.

The 5 shares we’ve checked out not solely provide low Beta scores, however in addition they provide enticing dividend yields. Sifting by way of the immense variety of shares obtainable for buy to traders utilizing standards like these may help traders discover the very best shares to swimsuit their wants.

At Positive Dividend, we frequently advocate for investing in firms with a excessive likelihood of accelerating their dividends every 12 months.

If that technique appeals to you, it could be helpful to flick thru the next databases of dividend development shares:

Thanks for studying this text. Please ship any suggestions, corrections, or inquiries to help@suredividend.com.

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