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Does Hancock Whitney Corporation (NASDAQ:HWC) Have A High Beta?

Simply Wall St

Anyone researching Hancock Whitney Corporation (NASDAQ:HWC) 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. First, we have company specific volatility, which is the price gyrations of an individual stock. Holding at least 8 stocks can reduce this kind of risk across a 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 see their prices move in concert with the market. Others tend towards stronger, gentler or unrelated 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.

Check out our latest analysis for Hancock Whitney

What we can learn from HWC's beta value

Zooming in on Hancock Whitney, we see it has a five year beta of 1.40. This is above 1, so historically its share price has been influenced by the broader volatility of the stock market. Based on this history, investors should be aware that Hancock Whitney are likely to rise strongly in times of greed, but sell off in times of fear. 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 Hancock Whitney's revenue and earnings in the image below.

NasdaqGS:HWC Income Statement, January 1st 2020

How does HWC's size impact its beta?

Hancock Whitney is a reasonably big company, with a market capitalisation of US$3.8b. Most companies this size are actively traded with decent volumes of shares changing hands each day. It takes deep pocketed investors to influence the share price of a large company, so it's a little unusual to see companies this size with high beta values. It may be that that this company is more heavily impacted by broader economic factors than most.

What this means for you:

Since Hancock Whitney 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. In order to fully understand whether HWC is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Hancock Whitney’s financial health and performance track record. I urge you to continue your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for HWC’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for HWC’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has HWC 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 HWC's historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how HWC measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.