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Before You Buy Werner Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ:WERN), Consider Its Volatility

Simply Wall St

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If you're interested in Werner Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ:WERN), 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. Modern finance theory considers volatility to be a measure of risk, and there are two main types of price volatility. First, we have company specific volatility, which is the price gyrations of an individual stock. Holding at least 8 stocks can reduce this kind of risk across a 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 are more sensitive to general market forces than others. 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. Any stock with a beta of greater than one is considered more volatile than the market, while those with a beta below one are either less volatile or poorly correlated with the market.

See our latest analysis for Werner Enterprises

What we can learn from WERN's beta value

Looking at the last five years, Werner Enterprises has a beta of 1.22. The fact that this is well above 1 indicates that its share price movements have shown sensitivity to overall market volatility. If this beta value holds true in the future, Werner Enterprises shares are likely to rise more than the market when the market is going up, but fall faster when the market is going down. 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 Werner Enterprises's revenue and earnings in the image below.

NasdaqGS:WERN Income Statement, May 13th 2019

Could WERN's size cause it to be more volatile?

Werner Enterprises is a fairly large company. It has a market capitalisation of US$2.3b, which means it is probably on the radar of most investors. It takes deep pocketed investors to influence the share price of a large company, so it's a little unusual to see companies this size with high beta values. It may be that that this company is more heavily impacted by broader economic factors than most.

What this means for you:

Beta only tells us that the Werner Enterprises 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 WERN is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Werner Enterprises’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 WERN’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for WERN’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has WERN 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 WERN's historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how WERN 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.