If you own shares in BankUnited, Inc. (NYSE:BKU) then it's worth thinking about how it contributes to the volatility of your portfolio, overall. In finance, Beta is a measure of volatility. Volatility is considered to be a measure of risk in modern finance theory. Investors may think of volatility as falling into two main categories. The first type is company specific volatility. Investors use diversification across uncorrelated stocks to reduce this kind of price volatility across the portfolio. The second type is the broader market volatility, which you cannot diversify away, since it arises from macroeconomic factors which directly affects all the stocks on the market.
Some stocks see their prices move in concert with the market. Others tend towards stronger, gentler or unrelated 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 greater than one is more sensitive to broader market movements than a stock with a beta of less than one.
What does BKU's beta value mean to investors?
While history does not always repeat, this level of beta may indicate that the stock price will continue to be exposed to market risk, albeit not overly so. Many would argue that beta is useful in position sizing, but fundamental metrics such as revenue and earnings are more important overall. You can see BankUnited's revenue and earnings in the image below.
Could BKU's size cause it to be more volatile?
BankUnited is a reasonably big company, with a market capitalisation of US$3.0b. Most companies this size are actively traded with decent volumes of shares changing hands each day. It's not overly surprising to see large companies with beta values reasonably close to the market average. After all, large companies make up a higher weighting of the index than do small companies.
What this means for you:
Since BankUnited has a beta close to one, it will probably show a positive return when the market is moving up, based on history. If you're trying to generate better returns than the market, it would be worth thinking about other metrics such as cashflows, dividends and revenue growth might be a more useful guide to the future. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it's well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as BankUnited’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 BKU’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for BKU’s outlook.
Past Track Record: Has BKU 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 BKU's historicals for more clarity.
Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how BKU measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
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