With the Fed Funds Rate decision expected this afternoon, investors are expecting volatility to reign supreme, whether it be on the upside or the downside.
Beta measures the volatility of a security compared to the market as a whole (often times the S&P 500). For those not familiar with the term, a stock with a beta of 1 moves directly inline with the S&P 500. A stock with a beta less than 1 is less volatile than the market, and a stock with a beta greater than 1 is more volatile than the market.
Since high beta stocks are more volatile than the market, investors might buy them in hopes of receiving higher returns if they think the market is due to go higher. Investors that think the market is due for a correction might short high beta stocks or stick with low beta stocks that are less correlated with the market as a whole.
Below we highlight the 25 stocks in the Russell 1,000 with the highest and lowest betas. We also provide the year to date percent change of each stock to highlight recent price trends. As shown, Joy Global (JOYG), Akamai (AKAM), General Cable Corp (BGC), Rambus (RMBS), Titanium Metals (TIE) and Radian Group (RDN) all have betas greater than 2, while Dade Behring (DADE), Sierra Health (SIE), Dean Foods (DF), Healthnet (HNT), Alleghany (Y) and Quest Diagnostics (DGX) have betas less than 0.5.