If you own shares in First Commonwealth Financial Corporation (NYSE:FCF) 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 mimic the volatility of the market quite closely, while others demonstrate muted, exagerrated or uncorrelated 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. 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 FCF’s beta value tells investors
With a beta of 0.99, (which is quite close to 1) the share price of First Commonwealth Financial has historically been about as voltile as the broader market. If the future looks like the past, we could therefore consider it likely that the stock price will experience share price volatility that is roughly similar to the overall market. Beta is worth considering, but it’s also important to consider whether First Commonwealth Financial is growing earnings and revenue. You can take a look for yourself, below.
Could FCF’s size cause it to be more volatile?
First Commonwealth Financial is a small company, but not tiny and little known. It has a market capitalisation of US$1.5b, which means it would be on the radar of intstitutional investors. It takes less capital to move the share price of small companies, and they are also more impacted by company specific events, so it’s a bit of a surprise that the beta is so close to the overall market.
What this means for you:
It is probable that there is a link between the share price of First Commonwealth Financial and the broader market, since it has a beta value quite close to one. However, long term investors are generally well served by looking past market volatility and focussing on the underlying development of the business. If that’s your game, metrics such as revenue, earnings and cash flow will be more useful. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it’s well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as First Commonwealth Financial’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 FCF’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for FCF’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has FCF 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 FCF’s historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It’s worth checking to see how FCF measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.
The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at email@example.com.