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Anyone researching Coca-Cola Consolidated, Inc. (NASDAQ:COKE) might want to consider the historical volatility of the share price. 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 category is company specific volatility. This can be dealt with by limiting your exposure to any particular stock. 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 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. 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 COKE's beta value tells investors
Looking at the last five years, Coca-Cola Consolidated has a beta of 0.81. The fact that this is well below 1 indicates that its share price movements haven't historically been very sensitive to overall market volatility. This suggests that including it in your portfolio will reduce volatility arising from broader market movements, assuming your portfolio's weighted average beta is higher than 0.81. 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 Coca-Cola Consolidated's revenue and earnings in the image below.
Could COKE's size cause it to be more volatile?
With a market capitalisation of US$2.1b, Coca-Cola Consolidated is a pretty big company, even by global standards. It is quite likely well known to very many investors. When large companies like this one have a low beta value, there is usually some other factor that is having an outsized impact on the share price. For example, a business with significant fixed regulated assets might earn a reasonably predictable return, regardless of broader macroeconomic factors. Alternatively, lumpy earnings might mean minimal share price correlation with the broader market.
What this means for you:
One potential advantage of owning low beta stocks like Coca-Cola Consolidated is that your overall portfolio won't be too sensitive to overall market movements. However, this can be a blessing or a curse, depending on what's happening in the broader market. In order to fully understand whether COKE is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Coca-Cola Consolidated’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 COKE’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for COKE’s outlook.
Past Track Record: Has COKE 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 COKE's historicals for more clarity.
Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how COKE measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.