If you own shares in Mercury Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:MRCY) then it's worth thinking about how it contributes to the volatility of your portfolio, overall. In finance, Beta is a measure of volatility. Volatility is considered to be a measure of risk in modern finance theory. Investors may think of volatility as falling into two main categories. 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 see their prices move in concert with the market. Others tend towards stronger, gentler or unrelated 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.
What MRCY's beta value tells investors
Using history as a guide, we might surmise that the share price is likely to be influenced by market volatility going forward but it probably won't be particularly sensitive to it. Beta is worth considering, but it's also important to consider whether Mercury Systems is growing earnings and revenue. You can take a look for yourself, below.
How does MRCY's size impact its beta?
With a market capitalisation of US$4.6b, Mercury Systems is a pretty big company, even by global standards. It is quite likely well known to very many investors. We shouldn't be surprised to see a large company like this with a beta value quite close to the market average. Large companies often move roughly in line with the market. In part, that's because there are fewer individual events that are signficant enough to markedly change the value of the stock (compared to small companies, at least).
What this means for you:
Since Mercury Systems 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 Mercury Systems’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 MRCY’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for MRCY’s outlook.
Past Track Record: Has MRCY 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 MRCY's historicals for more clarity.
Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how MRCY measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
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