Anyone researching Zai Lab Limited (NASDAQ:ZLAB) 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 type is company specific volatility. Investors use diversification across uncorrelated stocks to reduce this kind of price volatility across the portfolio. 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 we can learn from ZLAB’s beta value
Given that it has a beta of 1.33, we can surmise that the Zai Lab share price has been fairly sensitive to market volatility (over the last 5 years). Based on this history, investors should be aware that Zai Lab 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 Zai Lab is growing earnings and revenue. You can take a look for yourself, below.
Could ZLAB’s size cause it to be more volatile?
Zai Lab is a reasonably big company, with a market capitalisation of US$4.3b. Most companies this size are actively traded with decent volumes of shares changing hands each day. It takes deep pocketed investors to influence the share price of a large company, so it’s a little unusual to see companies this size with high beta values. It may be that that this company is more heavily impacted by broader economic factors than most.
What this means for you:
Since Zai Lab tends to moves up when the market is going up, and down when it’s going down, potential investors may wish to reflect on the overall market, when considering the stock. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it’s well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as Zai Lab’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 ZLAB’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for ZLAB’s outlook.
- Financial Health: Are ZLAB’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
- Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.
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.
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