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If you own shares in Edgewell Personal Care Company (NYSE:EPC) 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 type is company specific volatility. Investors use diversification across uncorrelated stocks to reduce this kind of price volatility across the portfolio. 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. 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.
What EPC's beta value tells investors
Given that it has a beta of 0.85, we can surmise that the Edgewell Personal Care 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 Edgewell Personal Care's revenue and earnings in the image below.
Does EPC's size influence the expected beta?
With a market capitalisation of US$1.5b, Edgewell Personal Care is a small cap stock. However, it is big enough to catch the attention of professional investors. Small companies often have a high beta value, but they can be heavily influenced by company-specific events. This might explain why this stock has a low beta.
What this means for you:
One potential advantage of owning low beta stocks like Edgewell Personal Care 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 Edgewell Personal Care’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 EPC’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for EPC’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has EPC 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 EPC's historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how EPC 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.