If you're interested in Laredo Petroleum, Inc. (NYSE:LPI), 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 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. Some investors use beta as a measure of how much a certain stock is impacted by market risk (volatility). While we should keep in mind that Warren Buffett has cautioned that 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk', beta is still a useful factor to consider. To make good use of it you must first know that the beta of the overall market is 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 LPI's beta value tells investors
Zooming in on Laredo Petroleum, we see it has a five year beta of 1.6. This is above 1, so historically its share price has been influenced by the broader volatility of the stock market. Based on this history, investors should be aware that Laredo Petroleum are likely to rise strongly in times of greed, but sell off in times of fear. 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 Laredo Petroleum's revenue and earnings in the image below.
Could LPI's size cause it to be more volatile?
Laredo Petroleum is a small company, but not tiny and little known. It has a market capitalisation of US$625m, 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 Laredo Petroleum has a reasonably high beta, it's worth considering why it is so heavily influenced by broader market sentiment. For example, it might be a high growth stock or have a lot of operating leverage in its business model. In order to fully understand whether LPI is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Laredo Petroleum’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 LPI’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for LPI’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has LPI 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 LPI's historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how LPI 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 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.