If you own shares in AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ:AVAV) then it's worth thinking about how it contributes to the volatility of your portfolio, overall. In finance, Beta is a measure of volatility. Modern finance theory considers volatility to be a measure of risk, and there are two main types of price volatility. The first category is company specific volatility. This can be dealt with by limiting your exposure to any particular stock. The other type, which cannot be diversified away, is the volatility of the entire market. Every stock in the market is exposed to this volatility, which is linked to the fact that stocks prices are correlated in an efficient market.
Some stocks mimic the volatility of the market quite closely, while others demonstrate muted, exagerrated or uncorrelated price movements. Some investors use beta as a measure of how much a certain stock is impacted by market risk (volatility). While we should keep in mind that Warren Buffett has cautioned that 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk', beta is still a useful factor to consider. To make good use of it you must first know that the beta of the overall market is one. A stock with a beta below one is either less volatile than the market, or more volatile but not corellated with the overall market. In comparison a stock with a beta of over one tends to be move in a similar direction to the market in the long term, but with greater changes in price.
What AVAV's beta value tells investors
Zooming in on AeroVironment, we see it has a five year beta of 1.1. This is above 1, so historically its share price has been influenced by the broader volatility of the stock market. Based on this history, investors should be aware that AeroVironment are likely to rise strongly in times of greed, but sell off in times of fear. Beta is worth considering, but it's also important to consider whether AeroVironment is growing earnings and revenue. You can take a look for yourself, below.
Could AVAV's size cause it to be more volatile?
AeroVironment is a small company, but not tiny and little known. It has a market capitalisation of US$1.2b, which means it would be on the radar of intstitutional investors. It is quite common to see a small-cap stock with a beta greater than one. In part, that's because relatively few investors can influence the price of a smaller company, compared to a large company.
What this means for you:
Beta only tells us that the AeroVironment share price is sensitive to broader market movements. This could indicate that it is a high growth company, or is heavily influenced by sentiment because it is speculative. Alternatively, it could have operating leverage in its business model. Ultimately, beta is an interesting metric, but there's plenty more to learn. In order to fully understand whether AVAV is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as AeroVironment’s financial health and performance track record. I urge you to continue your research by taking a look at the following:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for AVAV’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for AVAV’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has AVAV been consistently performing well irrespective of the ups and downs in the market? Go into more detail in the past performance analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of AVAV's historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how AVAV measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.