# What Are the 5 Principal Risk Measures and How Do They Work

# What Are the 5 Principal Risk Measures and How Do They Work?

## What Are Risk Measures?

Risk measures are statistical measures that predict investment risk and volatility and are major components of modern portfolio theory (MPT). MPT is a financial methodology for assessing the performance of a stock or stock fund compared to its benchmark index.

### Key Takeaways

- Risk measures are statistical measures that predict investment risk and volatility.
- Risk measures are major components of modern portfolio theory (MPT), a financial methodology for assessing investment performance.
- The five principal risk measures are alpha, beta, R-squared, standard deviation, and the Sharpe ratio.

## Types of Risk Measures

There are five principal risk measures, and each provides a unique way to assess risk in investments under consideration. The five measures are alpha, beta, R-squared, standard deviation, and the Sharpe ratio. Risk measures can be used individually or together to perform a risk assessment. When comparing two potential investments, it is wise to compare similar ones to determine which holds the most risk.

### Alpha

Alpha measures risk relative to the market or a selected benchmark index. If a fund outperforms the benchmark, it has a positive alpha. If it falls below the benchmark, it has a negative alpha.

### Beta

Beta measures the volatility or systemic risk of a fund compared to the market or a benchmark index. A beta below one is less volatile than the benchmark, while a beta above one is more volatile.

### R-Squared

R-Squared measures the percentage of an investment’s movement attributable to movements in its benchmark index. For example, an R-squared value of 95 indicates a high correlation, while a value of 50 indicates a low correlation.

The U.S. Treasury Bill is a benchmark for fixed-income securities, and the S&P 500 Index is a benchmark for equities.

### Standard Deviation

Standard deviation measures data dispersion in regards to the mean value of a dataset and provides a measurement of investment volatility.

Regarding investments, standard deviation measures how much return on investment deviates from expected returns.

### Sharpe Ratio

The Sharpe ratio measures performance adjusted for associated risks. It compares the rate of return on a risk-free investment (e.g., U.S. Treasury Bond) to the rate of return on an investment, divided by the investment’s standard deviation. It indicates whether an investment’s return is due to wise investing or the assumption of excess risk.

## What Are Ways to Minimize Risk With Stocks?

Ways to minimize risk when investing in stocks include thorough research, portfolio diversification, investing according to risk appetite, having a long-term investment horizon, not panicking during volatility, and regularly evaluating your portfolio.

## What Are the Risks With Stocks?

The primary risk with a stock is losing the invested money. A stock’s performance is never guaranteed. The price may not increase, and there is always the risk of it dropping and losing the entire investment value.

## What Are Risk Metrics?

Risk metrics are mathematical approaches to gauging the possible loss of a security or investment portfolio. They help investors determine potential downside when evaluating stocks.

## The Bottom Line

Trading and investing are difficult. Picking the right stocks or assets can be complex, and timing is crucial. There are many metrics, particularly those assessing risk, that can help make informed decisions. Utilizing the above metrics greatly assists investors in making the right investment choices.