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Does Century Aluminum Company (NASDAQ:CENX) Have A High Beta?

Simply Wall St

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If you're interested in Century Aluminum Company (NASDAQ:CENX), 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. The first type is company specific volatility. Investors use diversification across uncorrelated stocks to reduce this kind of price volatility across the 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 mimic the volatility of the market quite closely, while others demonstrate muted, exagerrated or uncorrelated price movements. 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 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 Century Aluminum

What we can learn from CENX's beta value

Zooming in on Century Aluminum, we see it has a five year beta of 1.59. This is above 1, so historically its share price has been influenced by the broader volatility of the stock market. If this beta value holds true in the future, Century Aluminum shares are likely to rise more than the market when the market is going up, but fall faster when the market is going down. Beta is worth considering, but it's also important to consider whether Century Aluminum is growing earnings and revenue. You can take a look for yourself, below.

NasdaqGS:CENX Income Statement, May 6th 2019

Does CENX's size influence the expected beta?

With a market capitalisation of US$743m, Century Aluminum is a small cap stock. However, it is big enough to catch the attention of professional investors. It's not particularly surprising that it has a higher beta than the overall market. That's because it takes less money to influence the share price of a smaller company, than a bigger company.

What this means for you:

Since Century Aluminum has a reasonably high beta, it's worth considering why it is so heavily influenced by broader market sentiment. For example, it might be a high growth stock or have a lot of operating leverage in its business model. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it's well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as Century Aluminum’s financial health and performance track record. I highly recommend you dive deeper by considering the following:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for CENX’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for CENX’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has CENX 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 CENX's historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how CENX 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.