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Why You Need To Look At This Factor Before Buying MidSouth Bancorp Inc (NYSE:MSL)

Dane Simmons

If you own shares in MidSouth Bancorp Inc (NYSE:MSL) then it’s worth thinking about how it contributes to the volatility of your portfolio, overall. In finance, Beta is a measure of volatility. 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 see their prices move in concert with the market. Others tend towards stronger, gentler or unrelated 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 greater than one is more sensitive to broader market movements than a stock with a beta of less than one.

Check out our latest analysis for MidSouth Bancorp

What MSL’s beta value tells investors

Looking at the last five years, MidSouth Bancorp has a beta of 1.28. The fact that this is well above 1 indicates that its share price movements have shown sensitivity to overall market volatility. If this beta value holds true in the future, MidSouth Bancorp shares are likely to rise more than the market when the market is going up, but fall faster when the market is going down. 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 MidSouth Bancorp fares in that regard, below.

NYSE:MSL Income Statement Export September 13th 18

How does MSL’s size impact its beta?

MidSouth Bancorp is a rather small company. It has a market capitalisation of US$264.6m, which means it is probably under the radar of most investors. Relatively few investors can influence the price of a smaller company, compared to a large company. This could explain the high beta value, in this case.

What this means for you:

Since MidSouth Bancorp tends to moves up when the market is going up, and down when it’s going down, potential investors may wish to reflect on the overall market, when considering the stock. In order to fully understand whether MSL is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as MidSouth Bancorp’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 MSL’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for MSL’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has MSL 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 MSL’s historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other Interesting Stocks: It’s worth checking to see how MSL 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.