If you own shares in Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ:CLNE) 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. 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 is a widely used metric to measure a stock's exposure to market risk (volatility). Before we go on, it's worth noting that Warren Buffett pointed out in his 2014 letter to shareholders that 'volatility is far from synonymous with risk.' Having said that, beta can still be rather useful. The first thing to understand about beta is 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 CLNE's beta value
Looking at the last five years, Clean Energy Fuels has a beta of 1.98. The fact that this is well above 1 indicates that its share price movements have shown sensitivity to overall market volatility. If this beta value holds true in the future, Clean Energy Fuels shares are likely to rise more than the market when the market is going up, but fall faster when the market is going down. 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 Clean Energy Fuels's revenue and earnings in the image below.
Does CLNE's size influence the expected beta?
Clean Energy Fuels is a small cap stock with a market capitalisation of US$502m. Most companies this size are actively traded. 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 Clean Energy Fuels 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 CLNE is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Clean Energy Fuels’s financial health and performance track record. I urge you to continue your research by taking a look at the following:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for CLNE’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for CLNE’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has CLNE 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 CLNE's historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how CLNE measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
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