If you're interested in NBT Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:NBTB), 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 type is company specific volatility. Investors use diversification across uncorrelated stocks to reduce this kind of price volatility across the portfolio. The other type, which cannot be diversified away, is the volatility of the entire market. Every stock in the market is exposed to this volatility, which is linked to the fact that stocks prices are correlated in an efficient market.
Some stocks are more sensitive to general market forces than others. 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 below one is either less volatile than the market, or more volatile but not corellated with the overall market. In comparison a stock with a beta of over one tends to be move in a similar direction to the market in the long term, but with greater changes in price.
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What we can learn from NBTB's beta value
Looking at the last five years, NBT Bancorp has a beta of 0.85. The fact that this is well below 1 indicates that its share price movements haven't historically been very sensitive to overall market volatility. If history is a good guide, owning the stock should help ensure that your portfolio is not overly sensitive to market volatility. Beta is worth considering, but it's also important to consider whether NBT Bancorp is growing earnings and revenue. You can take a look for yourself, below.
Could NBTB's size cause it to be more volatile?
NBT Bancorp is a small cap stock with a market capitalisation of US$1.6b. Most companies this size are actively traded. Small cap stocks ofthen have a higher beta than the overall market. However, small companies can also be strongly impacted by company specific developments, which can move the share price in ways that are unrelated to the broader market. That could explain why this one has a low beta value.
What this means for you:
One potential advantage of owning low beta stocks like NBT Bancorp is that your overall portfolio won't be too sensitive to overall market movements. However, this can be a blessing or a curse, depending on what's happening in the broader market. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it's well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as NBT Bancorp’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 NBTB’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for NBTB’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has NBTB 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 NBTB's historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how NBTB 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 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.