Anyone researching ESCO Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ESE) might want to consider the historical volatility of the share price. Modern finance theory considers volatility to be a measure of risk, and there are two main types of price volatility. The first category is company specific volatility. This can be dealt with by limiting your exposure to any particular stock. The second type is the broader market volatility, which you cannot diversify away, since it arises from macroeconomic factors which directly affects all the stocks on the market.
Some stocks mimic the volatility of the market quite closely, while others demonstrate muted, exagerrated or uncorrelated 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 we can learn from ESE's beta value
As it happens, ESCO Technologies has a five year beta of 1.09. This is fairly close to 1, so the stock has historically shown a somewhat similar level of volatility as the market. While history does not always repeat, this may indicate that the stock price will continue to be exposed to market risk, albeit not overly so. 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 ESCO Technologies's revenue and earnings in the image below.
Does ESE's size influence the expected beta?
With a market capitalisation of US$2.3b, ESCO Technologies is a pretty big company, even by global standards. It is quite likely well known to very many investors. It's not overly surprising to see large companies with beta values reasonably close to the market average. After all, large companies make up a higher weighting of the index than do small companies.
What this means for you:
ESCO Technologies has a beta value quite close to that of the overall market. That doesn't tell us much on its own, so it is probably worth considering whether the company is growing, if you're looking for stocks that will go up more than the overall market. In order to fully understand whether ESE is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as ESCO Technologies’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 ESE’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for ESE’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has ESE 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 ESE's historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how ESE measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
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