Anyone researching Herman Miller, Inc. (NASDAQ:MLHR) 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. 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 sort is caused by the natural volatility of markets, overall. For example, certain macroeconomic events will impact (virtually) all 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 MLHR's beta value tells investors
Given that it has a beta of 1.68, we can surmise that the Herman Miller share price has been fairly sensitive to market volatility (over the last 5 years). If this beta value holds true in the future, Herman Miller 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 Herman Miller fares in that regard, below.
Could MLHR's size cause it to be more volatile?
With a market capitalisation of US$2.6b, Herman Miller is a pretty big company, even by global standards. It is quite likely well known to very many investors. It has a relatively high beta, suggesting it may be somehow leveraged to macroeconomic conditions. For example, it might be a high growth stock with lots of investors trading the shares. It's notable when large companies to have high beta values, because it usually takes substantial capital flows to move their share prices.
What this means for you:
Beta only tells us that the Herman Miller share price is sensitive to broader market movements. This could indicate that it is a high growth company, or is heavily influenced by sentiment because it is speculative. Alternatively, it could have operating leverage in its business model. Ultimately, beta is an interesting metric, but there's plenty more to learn. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it's well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as Herman Miller’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 MLHR’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for MLHR’s outlook.
Past Track Record: Has MLHR 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 MLHR's historicals for more clarity.
Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how MLHR measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
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