If you're interested in Sims Metal Management Limited (ASX:SGM), 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 mimic the volatility of the market quite closely, while others demonstrate muted, exagerrated or uncorrelated 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 greater than one is more sensitive to broader market movements than a stock with a beta of less than one.
What does SGM's beta value mean to investors?
Given that it has a beta of 0.81, we can surmise that the Sims Metal Management share price has not been strongly impacted by broader market volatility (over the last 5 years). This means that -- if history is a guide -- buying the stock would reduce the impact of overall market volatility in many portfolios (depending on the beta of the portfolio, of course). 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 Sims Metal Management's revenue and earnings in the image below.
Does SGM's size influence the expected beta?
Sims Metal Management is a small company, but not tiny and little known. It has a market capitalisation of AU$2.5b, which means it would be on the radar of intstitutional investors. Small companies can have a low beta value when company specific factors outweigh the influence of overall market volatility. That might be happening here.
What this means for you:
Since Sims Metal Management is not heavily influenced by market moves, its share price is probably far more dependend on company specific developments. It could pay to take a closer look at metrics such as revenue growth, earnings growth, and debt. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it's well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as Sims Metal Management’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 SGM’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for SGM’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has SGM 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 SGM's historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how SGM 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.