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Anyone researching Hilltop Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HTH) 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. 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 mimic the volatility of the market quite closely, while others demonstrate muted, exagerrated or uncorrelated 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 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 HTH’s beta value tells investors
Zooming in on Hilltop Holdings, we see it has a five year beta of 0.88. This is below 1, so historically its share price has been rather independent from the market. This means that — if history is a guide — buying the stock would reduce the impact of overall market volatility in many portfolios (depending on the beta of the portfolio, of course). 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 Hilltop Holdings’s revenue and earnings in the image below.
Could HTH’s size cause it to be more volatile?
Hilltop Holdings is a reasonably big company, with a market capitalisation of US$2.0b. Most companies this size are actively traded with decent volumes of shares changing hands each day. It is a little unusual to see big companies like this trade on low beta values. Oftentimes there is some other clear influence on the share price, overshadowing market volatility.
What this means for you:
One potential advantage of owning low beta stocks like Hilltop Holdings is that your overall portfolio won’t be too sensitive to overall market movements. However, this can be a blessing or a curse, depending on what’s happening in the broader market. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it’s well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as Hilltop Holdings’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 HTH’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for HTH’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has HTH 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 HTH’s historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It’s worth checking to see how HTH 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.