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Österreichische Post AG (VIE:POST): What Does Its Beta Value Mean For Your Portfolio?

Simply Wall St

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If you're interested in Österreichische Post AG (VIE:POST), 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 type is company specific volatility. Investors use diversification across uncorrelated stocks to reduce this kind of price volatility across the portfolio. The other type, which cannot be diversified away, is the volatility of the entire market. Every stock in the market is exposed to this volatility, which is linked to the fact that stocks prices are correlated in an efficient 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 greater than one is more sensitive to broader market movements than a stock with a beta of less than one.

View our latest analysis for Österreichische Post

What does POST's beta value mean to investors?

Given that it has a beta of 0.83, we can surmise that the Österreichische Post share price has not been strongly impacted by broader market volatility (over the last 5 years). This suggests that including it in your portfolio will reduce volatility arising from broader market movements, assuming your portfolio's weighted average beta is higher than 0.83. 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 Österreichische Post's revenue and earnings in the image below.

WBAG:POST Income Statement, July 2nd 2019

How does POST's size impact its beta?

Österreichische Post is a fairly large company. It has a market capitalisation of €2.0b, which means it is probably on the radar of most investors. It is a little unusual to see big companies like this trade on low beta values. Oftentimes there is some other clear influence on the share price, overshadowing market volatility.

What this means for you:

One potential advantage of owning low beta stocks like Österreichische Post is that your overall portfolio won't be too sensitive to overall market movements. However, this can be a blessing or a curse, depending on what's happening in the broader market. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it's well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as Österreichische Post’s financial health and performance track record. I highly recommend you dive deeper by considering the following:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for POST’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for POST’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has POST 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 POST's historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how POST measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.

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 editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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.