If you own shares in EXFO Inc. (TSE:EXF) then it's worth thinking about how it contributes to the volatility of your portfolio, overall. In finance, Beta is a measure of volatility. 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 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 see their prices move in concert with the market. Others tend towards stronger, gentler or unrelated 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 does EXF's beta value mean to investors?
Zooming in on EXFO, we see it has a five year beta of 1.55. This is above 1, so historically its share price has been influenced by the broader volatility of the stock market. If the past is any guide, we would expect that EXFO shares will rise quicker than the markets in times of optimism, but fall faster in times of pessimism. Beta is worth considering, but it's also important to consider whether EXFO is growing earnings and revenue. You can take a look for yourself, below.
Could EXF's size cause it to be more volatile?
EXFO is a noticeably small company, with a market capitalisation of CA$319m. Most companies this size are not always actively traded. It has a relatively high beta, suggesting it is fairly actively traded for a company of its size. Because it takes less capital to move the share price of a small company like this, when a stock this size is actively traded it is quite often more sensitive to market volatility than similar large companies.
What this means for you:
Since EXFO 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 EXF is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as EXFO’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 EXF’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for EXF’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has EXF 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 EXF's historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how EXF 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 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.
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