Anyone researching Forward Air Corporation (NASDAQ:FWRD) 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 type is company specific volatility. Investors use diversification across uncorrelated stocks to reduce this kind of price volatility across the 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. 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 does FWRD’s beta value mean to investors?
Given that it has a beta of 1.38, we can surmise that the Forward Air share price has been fairly sensitive to market volatility (over the last 5 years). Based on this history, investors should be aware that Forward Air are likely to rise strongly in times of greed, but sell off in times of fear. Share price volatility is well worth considering, but most long term investors consider the history of revenue and earnings growth to be more important. Take a look at how Forward Air fares in that regard, below.
Could FWRD’s size cause it to be more volatile?
Forward Air is a small company, but not tiny and little known. It has a market capitalisation of US$1.9b, which means it would be on the radar of intstitutional investors. It is quite common to see a small-cap stock with a beta greater than one. In part, that’s because relatively few investors can influence the price of a smaller company, compared to a large company.
What this means for you:
Since Forward Air 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. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it’s well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as Forward Air’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 FWRD’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for FWRD’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has FWRD 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 FWRD’s historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It’s worth checking to see how FWRD measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.
The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at email@example.com.