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Does ServisFirst Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:SFBS) Have A High Beta?

Simply Wall St

If you're interested in ServisFirst Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:SFBS), 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. 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 sort is caused by the natural volatility of markets, overall. For example, certain macroeconomic events will impact (virtually) all 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 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. 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.

See our latest analysis for ServisFirst Bancshares

What does SFBS's beta value mean to investors?

Zooming in on ServisFirst Bancshares, we see it has a five year beta of 1.29. This is above 1, so historically its share price has been influenced by the broader volatility of the stock market. Based on this history, investors should be aware that ServisFirst Bancshares are likely to rise strongly in times of greed, but sell off in times of fear. 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 ServisFirst Bancshares's revenue and earnings in the image below.

NasdaqGS:SFBS Income Statement, August 28th 2019

Could SFBS's size cause it to be more volatile?

ServisFirst Bancshares is a small cap stock with a market capitalisation of US$1.6b. Most companies this size are actively traded. It has a relatively high beta, which is not unusual among small-cap stocks. Because it takes less capital to move the share price of a smaller company, actively traded small-cap stocks often have a higher beta that a similar large-cap stock.

What this means for you:

Since ServisFirst Bancshares 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 SFBS is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as ServisFirst Bancshares’s financial health and performance track record. I urge you to continue your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for SFBS’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for SFBS’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has SFBS 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 SFBS's historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how SFBS 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 editorial-team@simplywallst.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.