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Why You Need To Look At This Factor Before Buying Graham Corporation (NYSE:GHM)

Austin Wood

If you’re interested in Graham Corporation (NYSE:GHM), 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. Modern finance theory considers volatility to be a measure of risk, and there are two main types of price volatility. 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 mimic the volatility of the market quite closely, while others demonstrate muted, exagerrated or uncorrelated price movements. Some investors use beta as a measure of how much a certain stock is impacted by market risk (volatility). While we should keep in mind that Warren Buffett has cautioned that ‘Volatility is far from synonymous with risk’, beta is still a useful factor to consider. To make good use of it you must first know that the beta of the overall market is one. Any stock with a beta of greater than one is considered more volatile than the market, while those with a beta below one are either less volatile or poorly correlated with the market.

View our latest analysis for Graham

What GHM’s beta value tells investors

Zooming in on Graham, we see it has a five year beta of 0.90. This is below 1, so historically its share price has been rather independent from the market. 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 0.90. Beta is worth considering, but it’s also important to consider whether Graham is growing earnings and revenue. You can take a look for yourself, below.

NYSE:GHM Income Statement Export September 17th 18

Could GHM’s size cause it to be more volatile?

Graham is a noticeably small company, with a market capitalisation of US$273.7m. Most companies this size are not always actively traded. Companies with market capitalisations around this size often show poor correlation with the broader market because market volatility is overshadowed by company specific events, or other factors. It’s worth checking to see how often shares are traded, because very small companies with very low beta values are often only thinly traded.

What this means for you:

Since Graham is not heavily influenced by market moves, its share price is probably far more dependend on company specific developments. It could pay to take a closer look at metrics such as revenue growth, earnings growth, and debt. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it’s well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as Graham’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 GHM’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for GHM’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has GHM 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 GHM’s historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other Interesting Stocks: It’s worth checking to see how GHM 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.