If you're interested in First United Corporation (NASDAQ:FUNC), 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. 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 FUNC's beta value
Using history as a guide, we might surmise that the share price is likely to be influenced by market volatility 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 First United's revenue and earnings in the image below.
Could FUNC's size cause it to be more volatile?
First United is a rather small company. It has a market capitalisation of US$101m, which means it is probably under the radar of most investors. Companies this small are usually more volatile than the market, whether or not that volatility is correlated. Therefore, it's a bit surprising to see that this stock has a beta value so close to the overall market.
What this means for you:
First United 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. In order to fully understand whether FUNC is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as First United’s financial health and performance track record. I urge you to continue your research by taking a look at the following:
- Financial Health: Are FUNC’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 FUNC 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 FUNC'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.
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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.