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Clearfield, Inc. (NASDAQ:CLFD): What Does Its Beta Value Mean For Your Portfolio?

Simply Wall St

Anyone researching Clearfield, Inc. (NASDAQ:CLFD) 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 second sort is caused by the natural volatility of markets, overall. For example, certain macroeconomic events will impact (virtually) all stocks on the market.

Some stocks are more sensitive to general market forces than others. Beta is a widely used metric to measure a stock's exposure to market risk (volatility). Before we go on, it's worth noting that Warren Buffett pointed out in his 2014 letter to shareholders that 'volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' Having said that, beta can still be rather useful. The first thing to understand about beta is that the beta of the overall market is 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.

See our latest analysis for Clearfield

What does CLFD's beta value mean to investors?

Given that it has a beta of 1.55, we can surmise that the Clearfield share price has been fairly sensitive to market volatility (over the last 5 years). If this beta value holds true in the future, Clearfield 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 Clearfield's revenue and earnings in the image below.

NasdaqGM:CLFD Income Statement, January 22nd 2020

How does CLFD's size impact its beta?

Clearfield is a rather small company. It has a market capitalisation of US$195m, which means it is probably under the radar of 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:

Beta only tells us that the Clearfield 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. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it's well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as Clearfield’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 CLFD’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for CLFD’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has CLFD 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 CLFD's historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how CLFD measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.