Should You Have Imperva Inc’s (NASDAQ:IMPV) In Your Portfolio?

Anyone researching Imperva Inc (NASDAQ:IMPV) might want to consider the historical volatility of the share price. Modern finance theory considers volatility to be a measure of risk, and there are two main types of price volatility. 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. 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. 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.

See our latest analysis for Imperva

What does IMPV’s beta value mean to investors?

Given that it has a beta of 1.71, we can surmise that the Imperva share price has been fairly sensitive to market volatility (over the last 5 years). Based on this history, investors should be aware that Imperva are likely to rise strongly in times of greed, but sell off in times of fear. Beta is worth considering, but it’s also important to consider whether Imperva is growing earnings and revenue. You can take a look for yourself, below.

NasdaqGS:IMPV Income Statement Export September 17th 18
NasdaqGS:IMPV Income Statement Export September 17th 18

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

Imperva is a small company, but not tiny and little known. It has a market capitalisation of US$1.66b, which means it would be on the radar of intstitutional investors. It has a relatively high beta, which is not unusual among small-cap stocks. Because it takes less capital to move the share price of a smaller company, actively traded small-cap stocks often have a higher beta that a similar large-cap stock.

What this means for you:

Beta only tells us that the Imperva share price is sensitive to broader market movements. This could indicate that it is a high growth company, or is heavily influenced by sentiment because it is speculative. Alternatively, it could have operating leverage in its business model. Ultimately, beta is an interesting metric, but there’s plenty more to learn. In order to fully understand whether IMPV is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Imperva’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 IMPV’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for IMPV’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has IMPV 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 IMPV’s historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other Interesting Stocks: It’s worth checking to see how IMPV 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.