If you own shares in Hutchison China MediTech Limited (LON:HCM) 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 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. 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 HCM’s beta value tells investors
Hutchison China MediTech has a five-year beta of 0.95. This is reasonably close to the market beta of 1, so the stock has in the past displayed similar levels of volatility to the overall 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 Hutchison China MediTech fares in that regard, below.
Does HCM’s size influence the expected beta?
Hutchison China MediTech is a fairly large company. It has a market capitalisation of UK£2.3b, which means it is probably on the radar of most investors. It’s not overly surprising to see large companies with beta values reasonably close to the market average. After all, large companies make up a higher weighting of the index than do small companies.
What this means for you:
It is probable that there is a link between the share price of Hutchison China MediTech and the broader market, since it has a beta value quite close to one. However, long term investors are generally well served by looking past market volatility and focussing on the underlying development of the business. If that’s your game, metrics such as revenue, earnings and cash flow will be more useful. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it’s well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as Hutchison China MediTech’s financial health and performance track record. I highly recommend you dive deeper by considering the following:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for HCM’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for HCM’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has HCM 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 HCM’s historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It’s worth checking to see how HCM measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
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.
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