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What You Must Know About Plug Power Inc.’s (NASDAQ:PLUG) Beta Value

Micheal Lombardo

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If you’re interested in Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ:PLUG), then you might want to consider its beta (a measure of share price volatility) in order to understand how the stock could impact your portfolio. 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 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 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.

View our latest analysis for Plug Power

What does PLUG’s beta value mean to investors?

Looking at the last five years, Plug Power has a beta of 1.24. The fact that this is well above 1 indicates that its share price movements have shown sensitivity to overall market volatility. Based on this history, investors should be aware that Plug Power are likely to rise strongly in times of greed, but sell off in times of fear. Beta is worth considering, but it’s also important to consider whether Plug Power is growing earnings and revenue. You can take a look for yourself, below.

NASDAQCM:PLUG Income Statement Export February 2nd 19

Does PLUG’s size influence the expected beta?

Plug Power is a rather small company. It has a market capitalisation of US$320m, which means it is probably under the radar of most investors. It has a relatively high beta, suggesting it is fairly actively traded for a company of its size. Because it takes less capital to move the share price of a small company like this, when a stock this size is actively traded it is quite often more sensitive to market volatility than similar large companies.

What this means for you:

Beta only tells us that the Plug Power 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. In order to fully understand whether PLUG is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Plug Power’s financial health and performance track record. I urge you to continue your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for PLUG’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for PLUG’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has PLUG 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 PLUG’s historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other Interesting Stocks: It’s worth checking to see how PLUG 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 editorial-team@simplywallst.com.