Anyone researching First Midwest Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:FMBI) 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 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 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.
What we can learn from FMBI's beta value
Looking at the last five years, First Midwest Bancorp has a beta of 1.26. 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, First Midwest Bancorp 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 First Midwest Bancorp's revenue and earnings in the image below.
Does FMBI's size influence the expected beta?
First Midwest Bancorp is a fairly large company. It has a market capitalisation of US$2.1b, which means it is probably on the radar of most investors. It takes a lot of money to influence the share price of large companies like this one. That makes it interesting to note that its share price has a history of sensitivity to market volatility. There might be some aspect of the business that means profits are leveraged to the economic cycle.
What this means for you:
Beta only tells us that the First Midwest Bancorp 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 First Midwest Bancorp’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 FMBI’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for FMBI’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has FMBI 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 FMBI's historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how FMBI measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
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