Anyone researching Forward Air Corporation (NASDAQ:FWRD) 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 type is company specific volatility. Investors use diversification across uncorrelated stocks to reduce this kind of price volatility across the portfolio. 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 mimic the volatility of the market quite closely, while others demonstrate muted, exagerrated or uncorrelated price movements. Some investors use beta as a measure of how much a certain stock is impacted by market risk (volatility). While we should keep in mind that Warren Buffett has cautioned that 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk', beta is still a useful factor to consider. To make good use of it you must first know that the beta of the overall market is 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 FWRD's beta value
Given that it has a beta of 1.54, we can surmise that the Forward Air share price has been fairly sensitive to market volatility (over the last 5 years). If the past is any guide, we would expect that Forward Air shares will rise quicker than the markets in times of optimism, but fall faster in times of pessimism. Beta is worth considering, but it's also important to consider whether Forward Air is growing earnings and revenue. You can take a look for yourself, below.
How does FWRD's size impact its beta?
Forward Air is a small cap stock with a market capitalisation of US$1.9b. Most companies this size are actively traded. 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 Forward Air tends to moves up when the market is going up, and down when it's going down, potential investors may wish to reflect on the overall market, when considering the stock. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it's well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as Forward Air’s financial health and performance track record. I urge you to continue your research by taking a look at the following:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for FWRD’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for FWRD’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has FWRD 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 FWRD's historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how FWRD measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
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