If you own shares in The Ensign Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENSG) then it's worth thinking about how it contributes to the volatility of your portfolio, overall. In finance, Beta is a measure of volatility. 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 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 are more sensitive to general market forces than others. Some investors use beta as a measure of how much a certain stock is impacted by market risk (volatility). While we should keep in mind that Warren Buffett has cautioned that 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk', beta is still a useful factor to consider. To make good use of it you must first know 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 does ENSG's beta value mean to investors?
Given that it has a beta of 0.81, we can surmise that the Ensign Group share price has not been strongly impacted by broader market volatility (over the last 5 years). This suggests that including it in your portfolio will reduce volatility arising from broader market movements, assuming your portfolio's weighted average beta is higher than 0.81. Share price volatility is well worth considering, but most long term investors consider the history of revenue and earnings growth to be more important. Take a look at how Ensign Group fares in that regard, below.
How does ENSG's size impact its beta?
Ensign Group is a reasonably big company, with a market capitalisation of US$2.0b. Most companies this size are actively traded with decent volumes of shares changing hands each day. 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 Ensign Group 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 Ensign Group’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 ENSG’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for ENSG’s outlook.
Past Track Record: Has ENSG 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 ENSG's historicals for more clarity.
Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how ENSG measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
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