Standard Deviation

Financial Indicator

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The Standard Deviation is a measure of how spread out the prices or returns of asset are on average. It is the most widly used risk indicator in the field of investing and finance. Standard Deviation is commonly used to measure confidence in statistical conclusions regarding certain equity instrument or portfolio of equities.

Standard Deviation 
=  
SQRT(V) 

Standard deviation is applied to the annual rate of return of an investment to measure the investment's volatility. Standard deviation is also known as historical volatility and is used by investors as a gauge for the amount of expected market volatility. A large standard deviation usually indicates that the data points are far from the mean and a small standard deviation indicates that they are clustered closely around the mean.

Standard Deviation In A Nutshell

The more volatile a given equity instrumet, the larger its standard deviation. Standard deviation helps money managers to capture volatility of the portfolio into a single number. For most traded equities, future monthly returns are usually destributed within one standard deviation of its average return (68% of the time),  and within two standard deviations 95% of the time.

The standard deviation is one of the main statistical indicators commonly used to measure confidence in statistical conclusions. For example, the margin of error in polling data is determined by calculating the expected standard deviation in the results if the same poll were to be conducted multiple times. In finance and investing Standard Deviation is usually used to measure risk.

Closer Look at Standard Deviation

Other deviation levels to watch out for are the 1.5 and 2 standard deviation level. At 2 standard deviations, the likely hood that your data point occurs within 2 standard deviations increases to roughly 95%. Again, just like any tool, this may not be 100% accurate, but it certainly have proven true more times than not. Using standard deviation is simple statistics and it takes emotion out of the picture. Another way people use standard deviation is to incorporate volume, which takes a little time to master the equation, but is certainly possible. Identifying what tools to use for you investing needs can take time, but a standard deviation tool is one to keep your eye on. It is reliable compared to the others and has proven to be one of the more useful out of the many that exist.