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Before You Buy Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc. (NYSE:ARCO), Consider Its Volatility

Simply Wall St

If you're interested in Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc. (NYSE:ARCO), then you might want to consider its beta (a measure of share price volatility) in order to understand how the stock could impact your portfolio. 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 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. Beta can be a useful tool to understand how much a stock is influenced by market risk (volatility). However, Warren Buffett said 'volatility is far from synonymous with risk' in his 2014 letter to investors. So, while useful, beta is not the only metric to consider. To use beta as an investor, you must first understand that the overall market has a beta of 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.

View our latest analysis for Arcos Dorados Holdings

What ARCO's beta value tells investors

As it happens, Arcos Dorados Holdings has a five year beta of 1.02. This is fairly close to 1, so the stock has historically shown a somewhat similar level of volatility as the market. While history does not always repeat, this may indicate that the stock price will continue to be exposed to market risk, albeit not overly so. Beta is worth considering, but it's also important to consider whether Arcos Dorados Holdings is growing earnings and revenue. You can take a look for yourself, below.

NYSE:ARCO Income Statement, August 26th 2019

Does ARCO's size influence the expected beta?

Arcos Dorados Holdings is a small cap stock with a market capitalisation of US$1.4b. Most companies this size are actively traded. Small companies often have a high beta value because the stock price can move on relatively low capital flows. So it's interesting to note that this stock historically has a beta value quite close to one.

What this means for you:

Since Arcos Dorados Holdings 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 Arcos Dorados Holdings’s financial health and performance track record. I urge you to continue your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for ARCO’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for ARCO’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has ARCO 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 ARCO's historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how ARCO 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 editorial-team@simplywallst.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.