Beta is a financial indicator used to estimate the risk of an investment. It compares the performance of an asset to that of the market in which it is traded. In other words, it compares the volatility of a fund with that of the category or index.
If the beta is less than one, the asset is less volatile than the market; if it is greater than one, it is more volatile. In other words, when the beta is low, the fund will fall or rise less than the market; if it is high, it will fall or rise more.