Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (TSE:MFI): What Does Its Beta Value Mean For Your Portfolio?

If you’re interested in Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (TSE:MFI), 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. 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 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 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.

View our latest analysis for Maple Leaf Foods

What MFI’s beta value tells investors

Looking at the last five years, Maple Leaf Foods has a beta of 0.90. The fact that this is well below 1 indicates that its share price movements haven’t historically been very sensitive to overall market volatility. 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. 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 Maple Leaf Foods fares in that regard, below.

TSX:MFI Income Statement, March 13th 2020
TSX:MFI Income Statement, March 13th 2020

Does MFI’s size influence the expected beta?

With a market capitalisation of CA$2.5b, Maple Leaf Foods is a small cap stock. However, it is big enough to catch the attention of professional investors. Small companies often have a high beta value, but they can be heavily influenced by company-specific events. This might explain why this stock has a low beta.

What this means for you:

The Maple Leaf Foods doesn’t usually show much sensitivity to the broader market. This could be for a variety of reasons. Typically, smaller companies have a low beta if their share price tends to move a lot due to company specific developments. Alternatively, an strong dividend payer might move less than the market because investors are valuing it for its income stream. In order to fully understand whether MFI is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Maple Leaf Foods’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 MFI’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for MFI’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has MFI 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 MFI’s historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other Interesting Stocks: It’s worth checking to see how MFI 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 editorial-team@simplywallst.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.

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. Thank you for reading.