: Measuring Singular Risk in Context
When an investor considers high-risk-high-return investments, the investor can apply the risk-return tradeoff to the vehicle on a singular basis as well as within the context of the portfolio as a whole. Examples of high-risk-high return investments include options, penny stocks and leveraged exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Generally speaking, a diversified portfolio reduces the risks presented by individual investment positions. For example, a penny stock position may have a high risk on a singular basis, but if it is the only position of its kind in a larger portfolio, the risk incurred by holding the stock is minimal.
Risk-Return Tradeoff at the Portfolio Level
That said, the risk-return tradeoff also exists at the portfolio level. For example, a portfolio composed of all equities presents both higher risk and higher potential returns. Within an all-equity portfolio, risk and reward can be increased by concentrating investments in specific sectors or by taking on single positions that represent a large percentage of holdings. For investors, assessing the cumulative risk-return tradeoff of all positions can provide insight on whether a portfolio assumes enough risk to achieve long-term return objectives or if the risk levels are too high with the existing mix of holdings.