Anyone researching Insteel Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:IIIN) 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 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 greater than one is more sensitive to broader market movements than a stock with a beta of less than one.
What we can learn from IIIN's beta value
Looking at the last five years, Insteel Industries has a beta of 1.8. The fact that this is well above 1 indicates that its share price movements have shown sensitivity to overall market volatility. Based on this history, investors should be aware that Insteel Industries are likely to rise strongly in times of greed, but sell off in times of fear. Beta is worth considering, but it's also important to consider whether Insteel Industries is growing earnings and revenue. You can take a look for yourself, below.
Does IIIN's size influence the expected beta?
Insteel Industries is a rather small company. It has a market capitalisation of US$351m, which means it is probably under the radar of most investors. It takes less money to influence the share price of a very small company. This may explain the excess volatility implied by this beta value.
What this means for you:
Beta only tells us that the Insteel Industries 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. In order to fully understand whether IIIN is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Insteel Industries’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 IIIN’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for IIIN’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has IIIN 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 IIIN's historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how IIIN measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
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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.