If you own shares in Washington Real Estate Investment Trust (NYSE:WRE) then it's worth thinking about how it contributes to the volatility of your portfolio, overall. In finance, Beta is a measure of volatility. Modern finance theory considers volatility to be a measure of risk, and there are two main types of price volatility. 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 greater than one is more sensitive to broader market movements than a stock with a beta of less than one.
What does WRE's beta value mean to investors?
As it happens, Washington Real Estate Investment Trust has a five year beta of 0.93. This is fairly close to 1, so the stock has historically shown a somewhat similar level of volatility as the 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. Share price volatility is well worth considering, but most long term investors consider the history of revenue and earnings growth to be more important. Take a look at how Washington Real Estate Investment Trust fares in that regard, below.
Does WRE's size influence the expected beta?
Washington Real Estate Investment Trust is a reasonably big company, with a market capitalisation of US$2.2b. Most companies this size are actively traded with decent volumes of shares changing hands each day. We shouldn't be surprised to see a large company like this with a beta value quite close to the market average. Large companies often move roughly in line with the market. In part, that's because there are fewer individual events that are signficant enough to markedly change the value of the stock (compared to small companies, at least).
What this means for you:
Washington Real Estate Investment Trust 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 WRE is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Washington Real Estate Investment Trust’s financial health and performance track record. I urge you to continue your research by taking a look at the following:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for WRE’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for WRE’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has WRE 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 WRE's historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how WRE measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.