U.S. Markets closed

Before You Buy Pacific Ethanol, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEIX), Consider Its Volatility

Anyone researching Pacific Ethanol, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEIX) might want to consider the historical volatility of the share price. 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 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 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.

See our latest analysis for Pacific Ethanol

What does PEIX’s beta value mean to investors?

Zooming in on Pacific Ethanol, we see it has a five year beta of 1.77. This is above 1, so historically its share price has been influenced by the broader volatility of the stock market the market. If the past is any guide, we would expect that Pacific Ethanol shares will rise quicker than the markets in times of optimism, but fall faster in times of pessimism. Beta is worth considering, but it’s also important to consider whether Pacific Ethanol is growing earnings and revenue. You can take a look for yourself, below.

NasdaqCM:PEIX Income Statement Export December 13th 18

Does PEIX’s size influence the expected beta?

With a market capitalisation of US$64m, Pacific Ethanol is a very small company by global standards. It is quite likely to be unknown to most investors. Relatively few investors can influence the price of a smaller company, compared to a large company. This could explain the high beta value, in this case.

What this means for you:

Since Pacific Ethanol tends to moves up when the market is going up, and down when it’s going down, potential investors may wish to reflect on the overall market, when considering the stock. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it’s well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as Pacific Ethanol’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 PEIX’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for PEIX’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has PEIX 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 PEIX’s historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other Interesting Stocks: It’s worth checking to see how PEIX measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.