If you own shares in Cantel Medical Corp. (NYSE:CMD) 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 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 CMD's beta value tells investors
With a beta of 1.03, (which is quite close to 1) the share price of Cantel Medical has historically been about as voltile as the broader market. If the future looks like the past, we could therefore consider it likely that the stock price will experience share price volatility that is roughly similar to the overall market. Beta is worth considering, but it's also important to consider whether Cantel Medical is growing earnings and revenue. You can take a look for yourself, below.
Could CMD's size cause it to be more volatile?
Cantel Medical is a reasonably big company, with a market capitalisation of US$2.9b. 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:
It is probable that there is a link between the share price of Cantel Medical and the broader market, since it has a beta value quite close to one. However, long term investors are generally well served by looking past market volatility and focussing on the underlying development of the business. If that's your game, metrics such as revenue, earnings and cash flow will be more useful. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it's well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as Cantel Medical’s financial health and performance track record. I highly recommend you dive deeper by considering the following:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for CMD’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for CMD’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has CMD 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 CMD's historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how CMD measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
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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.