If you own shares in Luna Innovations Incorporated (NASDAQ:LUNA) 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 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 below one is either less volatile than the market, or more volatile but not corellated with the overall market. In comparison a stock with a beta of over one tends to be move in a similar direction to the market in the long term, but with greater changes in price.
What we can learn from LUNA’s beta value
Given that it has a beta of 0.83, we can surmise that the Luna Innovations 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. 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 Luna Innovations’s revenue and earnings in the image below.
Does LUNA’s size influence the expected beta?
Luna Innovations is a rather small company. It has a market capitalisation of US$82m, 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:
Since Luna Innovations is not heavily influenced by market moves, its share price is probably far more dependend on company specific developments. It could pay to take a closer look at metrics such as revenue growth, earnings growth, and debt. In order to fully understand whether LUNA is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Luna Innovations’s financial health and performance track record. I highly recommend you dive deeper by considering the following:
- Financial Health: Are LUNA’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 LUNA 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 LUNA’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 email@example.com.