Seeing the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) down over 1% on Thursday thanks largely to the sell-off in the banking sector, brought back memories of the market turmoil from the start of the year.

I am hopeful that this slight panic which is related to the announcement that Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) made to the market was just a temporary blip.

But if it were to turn into anything more serious, it is always nice to have a couple of quality shares in your portfolio which perform well in stormy markets. These shares often have one thing in common with each other – a low beta.

Investors use a share’s beta to measure its volatility, or systematic risk, in comparison to the market as a whole. A share with a beta of 1 will tend to move with the market. Whereas a share with a beta of less than 1 will be less volatile than the market, and vice versa for shares with a beta above 1. However, we should also note that many investors view market volatility as just that – and that it has nothing at all to do with the risk of losing your capital.

Two shares on the ASX which I believe are great investments in volatile times are as follows:

Ansell Limited (ASX: ANN)

Ansell is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of protective and medical gloves and condoms. Its shares have a beta of 0.7, which should insulate them from market turmoil to some degree.

Unlike luxury products from a retailer such as Myer Holdings Ltd (ASX: MYR), its products are staples which continue to be bought in the event of an economic downturn.

Its shares are down by over 17% this year, which could make today a very good entry point for long-term investors seeking to lower the risk of their portfolio.

Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd (ASX: CCL)

Coca-Cola Amatil is a prime example of a low beta share. Its beta is 0.6 and this is largely because it marches to the beat of its own drum. Its shares have a tendency to rise and fall on its individual performance and not that of the market as a whole.

Many regard the Coca-Cola brand as being recession-proof. This makes Coca-Cola Amatil an ideal share to buy and hold for the long-term in my opinion.

It has been a disappointing year so far for shareholders with its shares still down 5% for the year despite climbing almost 10% since mid-February. Savvy investors could look at getting hold of shares now whilst they are still cheap.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned.