If you're interested in Assured Guaranty Ltd. (NYSE:AGO), then you might want to consider its beta (a measure of share price volatility) in order to understand how the stock could impact your portfolio. 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 type is company specific volatility. Investors use diversification across uncorrelated stocks to reduce this kind of price volatility across the portfolio. 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 are more sensitive to general market forces than others. 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 AGO's beta value tells investors
With a beta of 1.01, (which is quite close to 1) the share price of Assured Guaranty has historically been about as voltile as the broader 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. Beta is worth considering, but it's also important to consider whether Assured Guaranty is growing earnings and revenue. You can take a look for yourself, below.
Could AGO's size cause it to be more volatile?
Assured Guaranty is a reasonably big company, with a market capitalisation of US$4.7b. Most companies this size are actively traded with decent volumes of shares changing hands each day. We shouldn't be surprised to see a large company like this with a beta value quite close to the market average. Large companies often move roughly in line with the market. In part, that's because there are fewer individual events that are signficant enough to markedly change the value of the stock (compared to small companies, at least).
What this means for you:
It is probable that there is a link between the share price of Assured Guaranty and the broader market, since it has a beta value quite close to one. However, long term investors are generally well served by looking past market volatility and focussing on the underlying development of the business. If that's your game, metrics such as revenue, earnings and cash flow will be more useful. In order to fully understand whether AGO is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Assured Guaranty’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 AGO’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for AGO’s outlook.
Past Track Record: Has AGO 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 AGO's historicals for more clarity.
Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how AGO measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
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