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Fuel Tech Inc (NASDAQ:FTEK): What Does Its Beta Value Mean For Your Portfolio?

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If you own shares in Fuel Tech Inc (NASDAQ:FTEK) 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. 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 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 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. 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.

Check out our latest analysis for Fuel Tech

What FTEK’s beta value tells investors

Given that it has a beta of 0.89, we can surmise that the Fuel Tech share price has not been strongly impacted by broader market volatility (over the last 5 years). If history is a good guide, owning the stock should help ensure that your portfolio is not overly sensitive to market volatility. 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 Fuel Tech fares in that regard, below.

NasdaqGS:FTEK Income Statement Export November 9th 18
NasdaqGS:FTEK Income Statement Export November 9th 18

Could FTEK’s size cause it to be more volatile?

Fuel Tech is a rather small company. It has a market capitalisation of US$35m, which means it is probably under the radar of most investors. It is not unusual for very small companies to have a low beta value, especially if only low volumes of shares are traded. Even when they are traded more actively, the share price is often more susceptible to company specific developments than overall market volatility.

What this means for you:

One potential advantage of owning low beta stocks like Fuel Tech 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. In order to fully understand whether FTEK is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Fuel Tech’s financial health and performance track record. I urge you to continue your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Financial Health: Are FTEK’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.

  2. Past Track Record: Has FTEK 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 FTEK’s historicals for more clarity.

  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

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 editorial-team@simplywallst.com.