If you own shares in Liquidity Services Inc (NASDAQ:LQDT) then it’s worth thinking about how it contributes to the volatility of your portfolio, overall. In finance, Beta is a measure of volatility. 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 are more sensitive to general market forces than others. 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. 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 LQDT’s beta value tells investors
Zooming in on Liquidity Services, we see it has a five year beta of 0.84. This is below 1, so historically its share price has been rather independent from the market. 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 0.84. Many would argue that beta is useful in position sizing, but fundamental metrics such as revenue and earnings are more important overall. You can see Liquidity Services’s revenue and earnings in the image below.
Could LQDT’s size cause it to be more volatile?
Liquidity Services is a noticeably small company, with a market capitalisation of US$204m. Most companies this size are not always actively traded. 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:
The Liquidity Services 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 Liquidity Services’s financial health and performance track record. I urge you to continue your research by taking a look at the following:
- Financial Health: Are LQDT’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.
- Past Track Record: Has LQDT 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 LQDT’s historicals for more clarity.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.