TRADING SKILLS & ESSENTIALS RISK MANAGEMENT
International Beta
By JAMES CHEN Updated August 17, 2021
What Is International Beta
International beta (also known as "global beta") is a measure of the systematic risk or volatility of a stock or portfolio in relation to a global market, rather than a domestic market.
KEY TAKEAWAYS
Understanding International Beta
The concept of international beta is particularly relevant in the case of large multinational companies with worldwide operations that have share prices more closely correlated with a global equity index than with the benchmark equity index in their country of domicile.
Investors can use the basic capital asset pricing model (CAPM) to determine the expected return on an asset based on its domestic beta and expected domestic market return. Similarly, the global CAPM can be used to calculate expected returns on an asset based on its international beta and expected return from a global index, such as the Morgan Stanley World Index.
The term "international beta" in the context of finance or portfolio theory should not be confused with international beta testing, which refers to the testing of software products in international markets.
As noted above the global capital asset pricing model (CAPM) can help investors calculate expected returns on an asset, based on its international beta. The global CAPM extends the concept of the traditional capital asset pricing model (CAPM) by incorporating foreign exchange risks (generally with a foreign currency risk premium).
The global CAPM expands upon the traditional CAPM equation:
r
a
=r
f
+β
a
(
r
m
r
f
)

where:
r
f
=risk free rate
β
a
=beta of the security
r
ˉ
m
=expected market return
In the international CAPM (ICAPM), in addition to getting compensated for the time value of money and the premium for deciding to take on market risk, investors are also rewarded for direct and indirect exposure to foreign currency. The ICAPM allows investors to account for the sensitivity to changes in foreign currency when investors hold an asset.
International Beta and the Morgan Stanley World Index
The Morgan Stanley Capital International All Country World Index Ex-U.S. (MSCI ACWI Ex-U.S.) can help investors who benchmark their U.S. and international stocks separately. The MSCI ACWE Ex-U.S. index provides a way to monitor international exposure apart from U.S. investments.
The top ten holdings of the MSCI ACWI Ex-U.S. as of June 30, 2021, were as follows:
These holdings span China, Japan, United Kingdom, France, Canada among other nations. Country weights include: Japan (14.3%), China (11.74%), United Kingdom (8.87%), France (7.1%), Canada (7.03%) and Other (50.96%).
What is beta?
Beta measures a stock's price volatility against that of a domestic index. In the U.S., beta is measured against the S&P 500 (which has a beta of 1.00). A beta greater than one means that the stock tends to move faster than the broader market (either up moves or down moves). A beta lower than one instead means the share prices are relatively less volatile.
Why use an international beta?
Instead of referencing the S&P 500, the international beta sets a stock's price movements in relation to a worldwide index of stocks. Companies with global operations, or which rely a great deal on foreign exports, may have share prices that are better represented by such an index rather than S&P 500.
What is international CAPM?
ICAPM is a way to calculate the relative risk/return profile of a security against a comprehensive basket of global equities. International CAPM extends beyond the traditional CAPM by compensating investors for foreign currency exposure. International beta is derived from the ICAPM model.
Related Terms
International Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM)
The international capital asset pricing model (CAPM) is a financial model that extends the concept of the CAPM to international investments. more
Consumption Capital Asset Pricing Model (CCAPM)
The consumption capital asset pricing model (CCAPM) is an extension of the capital asset pricing model but one that uses consumption beta instead of market beta. more
What Is the Fama and French Three Factor Model?
The Fama and French Three-Factor model expanded the CAPM to include size risk and value risk to explain differences in diversified portfolio returns. more
Excess Returns
Excess returns are returns achieved above and beyond the return of a proxy. Excess returns will depend on a designated investment return comparison for analysis. more
Country Risk Premium (CRP)
Country risk premium (CRP) is the additional return or premium demanded by investors to compensate them for the higher risk of investing overseas. more
What Is Expected Return?
The expected return is the amount of profit or loss an investor can anticipate receiving on an investment over time. more
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