The Market's 5 Most Volatile Stocks

Don't let it get away!

Keep track of the stocks that matter to you.

Help yourself with the Fool's FREE and easy new watchlist service today.

Beta is a highly flawed but still-useful proxy for measuring a stock's volatility. A stock with a beta of 1.0 moves in lockstep with the market. A stock with a beta of 2.0 moves twice as much in whichever direction the market's heading (good when the market is heading up, bad when it's heading down), and so forth.

While equating volatility with the broader term "risk" is problematic, I think it would be instructive to look at the five highest-beta stocks available on major U.S. stock exchanges, because after a massive yearlong bull rally, investors seem more nervous now. In uncertain times, riskier stocks are often (but, of course, not always) the hardest hit.

My research screened out penny stocks -- those trading for less than $1 per share or with market capitalizations under $100 million -- which are notoriously volatile. Here are the top five results:


Recent Price

1-Year Beta

1-Year Price Change

Human Genome Sciences (Nasdaq: HGSI  )




Targacept (Nasdaq: TRGT  )




Radian Group (NYSE: RDN  )




McClatchy (NYSE: MNI  )




FSI International (Nasdaq: FSII  )




Data provided by Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. As of June 9, 2010.

So what?
Each of these stocks absolutely pummeled the S&P 500's one-year return. That they have enjoyed massive run-ups, and that they sport extremely high betas, does not make them bad investments. But it does mean that they'll likely continue to be subject to intense price movements, so investors current or prospective should proceed accordingly.

Worried about volatility? Our Motley Fool Pro service is designed to make money in any market by using a range of strategies for the average investor. The results thus far are impressive. Learn more by entering your email address in the box below:

Brian Richards is online managing editor of The Motley Fool. Brian does not own shares of any companies mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (10)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 1205540, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/25/2016 6:24:12 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 9 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,223.03 77.32 0.43%
S&P 500 2,151.33 10.17 0.47%
NASD 5,309.83 52.43 1.00%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/24/2016 3:53 PM
CBIO $0.86 Up +0.05 +5.91%
Targacept CAPS Rating: **
FSII.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
HGSI.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Human Genome Scien… CAPS Rating: **
MNI $17.24 Down -0.42 -2.38%
The McClatchy Comp… CAPS Rating: *
RDN $14.65 Up +0.20 +1.38%
Radian Group CAPS Rating: ***