If you own shares in H&K AG (EPA:MLHK) then it's worth thinking about how it contributes to the volatility of your portfolio, overall. In finance, Beta is a measure of volatility. 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 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 MLHK's beta value tells investors
As it happens, H&K has a five year beta of 1.04. This is fairly close to 1, so the stock has historically shown a somewhat similar level of volatility as the market. If the future looks like the past, we could therefore consider it likely that the stock price will experience share price volatility that is roughly similar to the overall market. 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 H&K's revenue and earnings in the image below.
Does MLHK's size influence the expected beta?
H&K is a reasonably big company, with a market capitalisation of €4.3b. Most companies this size are actively traded with decent volumes of shares changing hands each day. 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:
Since H&K 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 H&K’s financial health and performance track record. I urge you to continue your research by taking a look at the following:
- Financial Health: Are MLHK’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
- Past Track Record: Has MLHK 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 MLHK's historicals for more clarity.
- Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.
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 email@example.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.