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EZCORP, Inc. (NASDAQ:EZPW): What Does Its Beta Value Mean For Your Portfolio?

Simply Wall St

Anyone researching EZCORP, Inc. (NASDAQ:EZPW) might want to consider the historical volatility of the share price. Modern finance theory considers volatility to be a measure of risk, and there are two main types of price volatility. 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 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 EZCORP

What we can learn from EZPW's beta value

Looking at the last five years, EZCORP has a beta of 1.73. The fact that this is well above 1 indicates that its share price movements have shown sensitivity to overall market volatility. If this beta value holds true in the future, EZCORP shares are likely to rise more than the market when the market is going up, but fall faster when the market is going down. 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 EZCORP fares in that regard, below.

NasdaqGS:EZPW Income Statement, September 4th 2019

How does EZPW's size impact its beta?

EZCORP is a noticeably small company, with a market capitalisation of US$434m. Most companies this size are not always actively traded. It has a relatively high beta, suggesting it is fairly actively traded for a company of its size. Because it takes less capital to move the share price of a small company like this, when a stock this size is actively traded it is quite often more sensitive to market volatility than similar large companies.

What this means for you:

Since EZCORP has a reasonably high beta, it's worth considering why it is so heavily influenced by broader market sentiment. For example, it might be a high growth stock or have a lot of operating leverage in its business model. In order to fully understand whether EZPW is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as EZCORP’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 EZPW’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for EZPW’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has EZPW 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 EZPW's historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how EZPW 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.