Anyone researching OraSure Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:OSUR) might want to consider the historical volatility of the share price. 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 category is company specific volatility. This can be dealt with by limiting your exposure to any particular stock. 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. 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 does OSUR’s beta value mean to investors?
Zooming in on OraSure Technologies, we see it has a five year beta of 1.2. This is above 1, so historically its share price has been influenced by the broader volatility of the stock market. If the past is any guide, we would expect that OraSure Technologies shares will rise quicker than the markets in times of optimism, but fall faster in times of pessimism. 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 OraSure Technologies’s revenue and earnings in the image below.
Could OSUR’s size cause it to be more volatile?
OraSure Technologies is a small cap stock with a market capitalisation of US$542m. Most companies this size are actively traded. It’s not particularly surprising that it has a higher beta than the overall market. That’s because it takes less money to influence the share price of a smaller company, than a bigger company.
What this means for you:
Since OraSure Technologies has a reasonably high beta, it’s worth considering why it is so heavily influenced by broader market sentiment. For example, it might be a high growth stock or have a lot of operating leverage in its business model. In order to fully understand whether OSUR is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as OraSure Technologies’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 OSUR’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for OSUR’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has OSUR 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 OSUR’s historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It’s worth checking to see how OSUR 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.