Beta is a measure of the stock's
volatility whether it moves in conjunction with the market or an event. It is
important to look at a stock's beta when analyzing risk and planning your investment.
It gauges the volatility of a security with a benchmark such as the S&P
500 or Dow Jones Industrial Average which represents the general stock market.
A security that has a beta of 1 means it moves with the market's direction,
if an index such as the S&P 500 is up 15% for the quarter, that stock's
return is also within that range. A stock with a beta of less than 1 tends to
lag the index a bit if not significantly. Speculative stocks have betas greater
than 1, they fluctuate in price faster than the market and produce bigger returns
or losses within a time period.