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If you're interested in Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE:BTU), 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 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 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. 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 we can learn from BTU's beta value
Zooming in on Peabody Energy, we see it has a five year beta of 0.85. This is below 1, so historically its share price has been rather independent from the market. 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 Peabody Energy is growing earnings and revenue. You can take a look for yourself, below.
How does BTU's size impact its beta?
With a market capitalisation of US$2.5b, Peabody Energy is a pretty big company, even by global standards. It is quite likely well known to very many investors. When a large company like this trades with a low beta value, it is often because there is some other systemic factor influencing the share price. For example, commodity prices might influence a mining company strongly, while expectations around dividend payments (and capital expenditure requirements) might have a big impact on utilities.
What this means for you:
The Peabody Energy doesn't usually show much sensitivity to the broader market. This could be for a variety of reasons. Typically, smaller companies have a low beta if their share price tends to move a lot due to company specific developments. Alternatively, an strong dividend payer might move less than the market because investors are valuing it for its income stream. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it's well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as Peabody Energy’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 BTU’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for BTU’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has BTU 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 BTU's historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how BTU 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.