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Which stock market sector is currently interesting due to its volatility

While long-term investors in physical shares are not too interested in volatility, CFD traders can make potentially very nice profits from it. However, equity markets are vast and it can happen that an interesting title slips through one’s fingers. This article will make sure that it doesn't happen.

What is volatility and how is it created

If you were to equate the words volatility and nervousness (or moodiness) you would not be far off the mark. Indeed, volatility is really a measure of nervousness in the markets and where there is nervousness, there is also uncertainty. Uncertainty in the markets can arise for many different reasons, but it usually happens before the release of important macroeconomic news (on our economic calendar), you can identify those by the three bulls' heads symbols) or during unexpected events with a major impact on a particular market sector or the geopolitical order of the world (natural disasters, wars).
On the charts of trading platforms, you can recognize a highly volatile market by the dynamically changing price of the instrument, the market is said to be going up or down, and if you switch to a candle chart, you may notice large candles. Conversely, non-volatile, calm markets move sideways without any significant dips or rises. Volatility can also be historical or implied, but we'll write about that another time. Now, let’s talk about how can one potentially profit from volatility and where to find suitable markets to do so.

How to potentially profit from volatility

For intraday and swing traders, volatility is the key to their potential success. For traders, often the worst situation is the so-called "sideways" market movement, where the asset in question goes "sideways" without significant movements either up or down. With small and larger price fluctuations, traders can potentially generate interesting profits. One of the most volatile markets is the stock market, where some news can trigger very significant price movements. Events such as important economic reports, a stock split, or an acquisition announcement, for example, can move the price of a given stock. In addition, traders using CFDs for share trading can also use leverage to multiply any gains (and losses) in a given volatility.
The key to potential success is choosing the right stock titles. Some stocks and sectors can be considered more volatile, while others can go longer periods of time without significant fluctuations. So how do you look for volatility? Several indicators measure price movements in stocks, perhaps the most well-known is beta, which measures the volatility of a given stock compared to a benchmark stock index (typically the S&P 500 for US stocks). The beta indicator is listed on most well-known stock sites, but we can calculate it using the following formula:

Calculation for trading beta purple trading

Beta = 1
In this case, the stock is highly correlated with the market and we can expect very similar movements to the benchmark index.
Beta < 1
If the beta is less than 1, we can consider the stock to be potentially less volatile than the stock market.
Beta > 1
Stocks with a beta greater than 1 are theoretically more volatile than the benchmark index. So, for example, if a stock's beta is 1.1, we think of it as 10% more volatile.

It is stock titles with a beta above 1 that should be of most interest to investors looking to take advantage of volatility. However, it is not enough to monitor the beta alone, traders should not forget to monitor important news and fundamentals related to the company and the market in general. Thus, it is advisable to choose a few companies whose stocks have been significantly volatile in the past and where we expect strong movements due to positive and negative news to continue. So which sectors may be worth following?

In which sectors can you potentially benefit from high volatility?

Energy sector
The energy companies sector has historically been one of the most volatile, as confirmed by the course of 2022 so far. The price development of energy companies is of course strongly linked to the price of energy commodities. These have had a great year - both natural gas and oil have appreciated by several tens of percent since the beginning of the year. However, this growth has not been without significant fluctuations, often by higher units of percent per day. The current geopolitical situation and growing talk of recession promise to continue the volatility in the sector. In the chart below, you can see the movement of Exxon Mobil Corp shares in recent weeks.

XOM Purple Trading Graph
Chart 1: Exxon Mobil shares on the MT4 platform on the H1 timeframe along with the 50 and 100-day moving averages

Travel industry
Shares of companies related to the travel industry have always been very volatile. According to data from the beginning of the year (NYU Stern), even the companies classified as hotels and casinos were the most volatile when measured by beta. Given the coronavirus pandemic, this is not surprising. However, the threat of coronavirus still persists and there is currently the talk of another wave. However, global demand for travel is once again strong. Airlines and hotels are beginning to recover from the previous two dry years. As a result, both positive and negative news promises potential volatility going forward. In the chart below, you can see the movement of Hilton Hotels Corp shares in recent weeks.

HLT Graph Purple Trading
Chart 2: Hilton Hotels shares on the MT4 platform on the H1 timeframe along with the 50 and 100-day moving averages

Technology is a very broad term - some companies in a given sector can be considered "blue chip" stocks, which can generally be less volatile and have the potential to appreciate nicely over time. These include Apple or Microsoft, for example. However, even these will not escape relatively high volatility in 2022. Traders looking for even stronger moves, however, will be more interested in smaller companies such as Uber, Zoom Technologies, Palantir, or PayPal. In the chart below, we can see the evolution of Twitter stock, which has undergone significant volatility in recent weeks. This was linked to the announcement of the acquisition (April gap) and its recent recall by Elon Musk. With both opposing parties facing a court battle, similarly wild news is just more water on the volatility mill.

TWTR Graph Purple Trading
Chart 3: Twitter shares on the MT4 platform on the H1 timeframe along with the 50 and 100-day moving averages

There are, of course, more sectors that are significantly volatile. Traders can follow companies in the healthcare sector, for example, where coronavirus vaccine companies are among the most interesting ones. Restaurants or aerospace and chemical companies can also be worth looking at. But few things can move stock markets as significantly as the economic cycle. We'll look at the impact of expansion and recession on stocks in our next article.

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