If you own shares in First Bancorp (NASDAQ:FBNC) 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 category is company specific volatility. This can be dealt with by limiting your exposure to any particular stock. 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 see their prices move in concert with the market. Others tend towards stronger, gentler or unrelated price movements. Some investors use beta as a measure of how much a certain stock is impacted by market risk (volatility). While we should keep in mind that Warren Buffett has cautioned that ‘Volatility is far from synonymous with risk’, beta is still a useful factor to consider. To make good use of it you must first know that the beta of the overall market is 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 FBNC’s beta value tells investors
As it happens, First Bancorp has a five year beta of 1.02. This is fairly close to 1, so the stock has historically shown a somewhat similar level of volatility as the 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. 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 First Bancorp’s revenue and earnings in the image below.
How does FBNC’s size impact its beta?
With a market capitalisation of US$1.1b, First Bancorp is a small cap stock. However, it is big enough to catch the attention of professional 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 Bancorp 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. In order to fully understand whether FBNC is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as First Bancorp’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 FBNC’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for FBNC’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has FBNC 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 FBNC’s historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It’s worth checking to see how FBNC 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.