Beta is a statistical measure of a stock's volatility in relation to the market. Stock analysts use this measure to get a sense of stocks' risk profiles. It is also a key component of the capital asset pricing model (CAPM), A stock's price variability is essential to consider when assessing risk. It represents the co-movement instead of the volatility. Therefore, it is possible for a stock to have zero beta and higher volatility than the market.

In the real world, some investors are prohibited from using leverage and other investors’ leverage is limited by margin requirements. Therefore, their only way to achieve higher returns is to buy more risky stocks, which would cause the overvaluation of higher-beta stocks. This behavior suggests that high-beta (risky) stocks should deliver lower risk-adjusted returns than low-beta stocks. In this algorithm, we'll use the leverage to explore the inefficiency of the beta factor.


The investment universe consists of all stocks in Nasdaq and NYSE. We use the Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index which covers all stocks actively traded in the United States.

def Initialize(self):
    # Add Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index data from Dropbox 
    self.price5000 = self.AddData(Fred, Fred.Wilshire.Price5000, Resolution.Daily).Symbol

We set up a automatic ROC indicator and a 1-year rolling window to hold its daily return data for a year. We warm them up by historical data.

# Setup a RollingWindow to hold market return
self.market_return = RollingWindow[float](252)
# Use a ROC indicator to convert market price index into return, and save it to the RollingWindow
self.roc = self.ROC(self.price5000, 1)
self.roc.Updated += lambda sender, updated: self.market_return.Add(updated.Value)
# Warm up
hist = self.History(self.price5000, 253, Resolution.Daily)
for point in hist.itertuples():
    self.roc.Update(point.Index[1], point.value)

The formula for calculating beta is the covariance of the return of an asset with the return of the market divided by the variance of the return of the market over a certain period.


We choose the 1-year rolling window as the period in the beta calculation. We created the SymbolData class to update the rolling window of return and the calculation of beta.

class SymbolData:
    def __init__(self, symbol):
        self.Symbol = symbol
        self.last_price = 0
        self.returns = RollingWindow[float](252)
        self.roc = RateOfChange(1)
        self.roc.Updated += lambda sender, updated: self.returns.Add(updated.Value)

    def Update(self, time, price):
        if price != 0:
            self.last_price = price
            self.roc.Update(time, price)

    def IsReady(self):
        return self.roc.IsReady and self.returns.IsReady

    def beta(self, market_ret):
        asset_return = np.array(list(self.returns), dtype=np.float32)
        market_return = np.array(list(market_ret), dtype=np.float32)
        return np.cov(asset_return, market_return)[0][1]/np.var(market_return)

In the CoarseSelectionFunction, we filter the stocks which price is lower than five as they are not active in the market. When the return rolling window is ready, stocks are then ranked in ascending order on the basis of their estimated beta. The algorithm goes long on five stocks at the bottom beta list and short on five stocks at the top beta list.

def Initialize(self): = {}
    self.monthly_rebalance = False
    self.long = None
    self.short = None

def CoarseSelectionFunction(self, coarse):
    for c in coarse:
        if c.Symbol not in
  [c.Symbol] = SymbolData(c.Symbol)[c.Symbol].Update(c.EndTime, c.AdjustedPrice)

    if self.monthly_rebalance:
        filtered_data = {symbol: data for symbol, data in if data.last_price > 5 and data.IsReady()}

        if len(filtered_data) > 10:
            # sort the dictionary in ascending order by beta value
            sorted_beta = sorted(filtered_data, key = lambda x: filtered_data[x].beta(self.market_return))
            self.long = sorted_beta[:5]
            self.short = sorted_beta[-5:]
            return self.long + self.short

            self.monthly_rebalance = False
            return []

        return []

In each portfolio, securities are weighted by the ranked betas. Lower-beta stocks have larger weights in the low-beta portfolio and higher-beta stocks have larger weights in the high-beta portfolio. The portfolios are rebalanced every calendar month.

def OnData(self, data):
    if not self.monthly_rebalance: return 

    # Liquidate symbols not in the universe anymore
    for symbol in self.Portfolio.Keys:
        if self.Portfolio[symbol].Invested and symbol not in self.long + self.short:

    if self.long is None or self.short is None: return

    long_scale_factor = 0.5/sum(range(1,len(self.long)+1))
    for rank, symbol in enumerate(self.long):    
        self.SetHoldings(symbol, (len(self.long)-rank+1)*long_scale_factor)

    short_scale_factor = 0.5/sum(range(1,len(self.long)+1))
    for rank, symbol in enumerate(self.short):    
        self.SetHoldings(symbol, -(rank+1)*short_scale_factor)

    self.monthly_rebalance = False
    self.long = None
    self.short = None


  1. Quantpedia - Beta Factor in Stocks