Anyone researching Astron Corporation Limited (ASX:ATR) might want to consider the historical volatility of the share price. 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 type is company specific volatility. Investors use diversification across uncorrelated stocks to reduce this kind of price volatility across the portfolio. 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.
What ATR's beta value tells investors
With a beta of 0.99, (which is quite close to 1) the share price of Astron has historically been about as voltile as the broader market. Using history as a guide, we might surmise that the share price is likely to be influenced by market voltility going forward but it probably won't be particularly sensitive to it. 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 Astron's revenue and earnings in the image below.
Does ATR's size influence the expected beta?
With a market capitalisation of AU$21m, Astron is a very small company by global standards. It is quite likely to be unknown to most investors. It doesn't take much money to really move the share price of a company as small as this one. That makes it somewhat unusual that it has a beta value so close to the overall market.
What this means for you:
Astron has a beta value quite close to that of the overall market. That doesn't tell us much on its own, so it is probably worth considering whether the company is growing, if you're looking for stocks that will go up more than the overall market. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it's well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as Astron’s financial health and performance track record. I urge you to continue your research by taking a look at the following:
- Financial Health: Are ATR’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 ATR 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 ATR'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.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.