Downside Risk

Definition of 'Downside Risk'


An estimation of a security's potential to suffer a decline in value if the market conditions change, or the amount of loss that could be sustained as a result of the decline. Downside risk explains a "worst case" scenario for an investment, or how much the investor stands to lose. Some investments have a finite amount of downside risk, while others have infinite risk. The purchase of a stock, for example, has a finite amount of downside risk; the investor can lose his or her entire investment. The sale of a stock, however, as accomplished through a short sale (or "selling short") entails unlimited downside risk, since the price of the security could continue rising indefinitely.

Investopedia explains 'Downside Risk'


Investors, traders and analysts use a variety of technical and fundamental metrics to estimate the likelihood that an investment's value will decline, including historical performance and standard deviation calculations. In general, many investments that have a greater potential for downside risk also have an increased potential for positive rewards. Investors often compare the potential risks associated with a particular investment to its possible rewards.

Downside risk is in contrast to upside potential, or the likelihood that a security's value will increase.



Related Video for 'Downside Risk'

comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Family Limited Partnership - FLP

    A type of partnership designed to centralize family business or investment accounts. FLPs pool together a family's assets into one single family-owned business partnership that family members own shares of. FLPs are frequently used as an estate tax minimization strategy, as shares in the FLP can be transferred between generations, at lower taxation rates than would be applied to the partnership's holdings.
  2. Yield Burning

    The illegal practice of underwriters marking up the prices on bonds for the purpose of reducing the yield on the bond. This practice, referred to as "burning the yield," is done after the bond is placed in escrow for an investor who is awaiting repayment.
  3. Marginal Analysis

    An examination of the additional benefits of an activity compared to the additional costs of that activity. Companies use marginal analysis as a decision-making tool to help them maximize their profits. Individuals unconsciously use marginal analysis to make a host of everyday decisions. Marginal analysis is also widely used in microeconomics when analyzing how a complex system is affected by marginal manipulation of its comprising variables.
  4. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities - TIPS

    A treasury security that is indexed to inflation in order to protect investors from the negative effects of inflation. TIPS are considered an extremely low-risk investment since they are backed by the U.S. government and since their par value rises with inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, while their interest rate remains fixed.
  5. Gilt-Edged Switching

    The selling and repurchasing of certain high-grade stocks or bonds to capture profits. Gilt-edged switching involves gilt-edged security, which can be high-grade stock or bond issued by a financially stable company such as the Blue Chip companies or by certain governments.
  6. Master Limited Partnership - MLP

    A type of limited partnership that is publicly traded. There are two types of partners in this type of partnership: The limited partner is the person or group that provides the capital to the MLP and receives periodic income distributions from the MLP's cash flow, whereas the general partner is the party responsible for managing the MLP's affairs and receives compensation that is linked to the performance of the venture.
Trading Center