If you own shares in Abraxas Petroleum Corporation (NASDAQ:AXAS) then it's worth thinking about how it contributes to the volatility of your portfolio, overall. In finance, Beta is a measure of volatility. Modern finance theory considers volatility to be a measure of risk, and there are two main types of price volatility. First, we have company specific volatility, which is the price gyrations of an individual stock. Holding at least 8 stocks can reduce this kind of risk across a portfolio. 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 we can learn from AXAS's beta value
Given that it has a beta of 1.54, we can surmise that the Abraxas Petroleum share price has been fairly sensitive to market volatility (over the last 5 years). If this beta value holds true in the future, Abraxas Petroleum shares are likely to rise more than the market when the market is going up, but fall faster when the market is going down. 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 Abraxas Petroleum fares in that regard, below.
Could AXAS's size cause it to be more volatile?
Abraxas Petroleum is a rather small company. It has a market capitalisation of US$239m, which means it is probably under the radar of most investors. It takes less money to influence the share price of a very small company. This may explain the excess volatility implied by this beta value.
What this means for you:
Beta only tells us that the Abraxas Petroleum share price is sensitive to broader market movements. This could indicate that it is a high growth company, or is heavily influenced by sentiment because it is speculative. Alternatively, it could have operating leverage in its business model. Ultimately, beta is an interesting metric, but there's plenty more to learn. In order to fully understand whether AXAS is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Abraxas 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 AXAS’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for AXAS’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has AXAS 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 AXAS's historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how AXAS 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 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. Thank you for reading.