Market Risk

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DEFINITION of 'Market Risk'

The possibility for an investor to experience losses due to factors that affect the overall performance of the financial markets. Market risk, also called "systematic risk," cannot be eliminated through diversification, though it can be hedged against. The risk that a major natural disaster will cause a decline in the market as a whole is an example of market risk. Other sources of market risk include recessions, political turmoil, changes in interest rates and terrorist attacks.

BREAKING DOWN 'Market Risk'

The two major categories of investment risk are market risk and specific risk. Specific risk, also called "unsystematic risk," is tied directly to the performance of a particular security and can be protected against through investment diversification. One example of unsystematic risk is that a company, whose stock you own will declare bankruptcy, thus making your stock worthless.

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