Anyone researching Australian Finance Group Limited (ASX:AFG) 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 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. 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.
What AFG’s beta value tells investors
Australian Finance Group has a five-year beta of 1.02. This is reasonably close to the market beta of 1, so the stock has in the past displayed similar levels of volatility to the overall market. While history does not always repeat, this may indicate that the stock price will continue to be exposed to market risk, albeit not overly so. 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 Australian Finance Group fares in that regard, below.
Could AFG’s size cause it to be more volatile?
Australian Finance Group is a noticeably small company, with a market capitalisation of AU$276m. Most companies this size are not always actively traded. Companies this small are usually more volatile than the market, whether or not that volatility is correlated. Therefore, it’s a bit surprising to see that this stock has a beta value so close to the overall market.
What this means for you:
Australian Finance Group has a beta value quite close to that of the overall market. That doesn’t tell us much on its own, so it is probably worth considering whether the company is growing, if you’re looking for stocks that will go up more than the overall market. In order to fully understand whether AFG is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Australian Finance Group’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 AFG’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for AFG’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has AFG 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 AFG’s historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It’s worth checking to see how AFG 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 email@example.com.