Should You Be Concerned About Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia Limited’s (ASX:GMA) Historical Volatility?

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If you own shares in Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia Limited (ASX:GMA) then it’s worth thinking about how it contributes to the volatility of your portfolio, overall. In finance, Beta is a measure of volatility. 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 type is the broader market volatility, which you cannot diversify away, since it arises from macroeconomic factors which directly affects all the stocks on the market.

Some stocks are more sensitive to general market forces than others. 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.

Check out our latest analysis for Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia

What we can learn from GMA’s beta value

With a beta of 0.95, (which is quite close to 1) the share price of Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia has historically been about as voltile as the broader 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. 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 Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia’s revenue and earnings in the image below.

ASX:GMA Income Statement, July 1st 2019
ASX:GMA Income Statement, July 1st 2019

How does GMA’s size impact its beta?

Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia is a small cap stock with a market capitalisation of AU$1.2b. Most companies this size are actively traded. It takes less capital to move the share price of small companies, and they are also more impacted by company specific events, so it’s a bit of a surprise that the beta is so close to the overall market.

What this means for you:

It is probable that there is a link between the share price of Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia and the broader market, since it has a beta value quite close to one. However, long term investors are generally well served by looking past market volatility and focussing on the underlying development of the business. If that’s your game, metrics such as revenue, earnings and cash flow will be more useful. In order to fully understand whether GMA is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia’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 GMA’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for GMA’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has GMA 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 GMA’s historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other Interesting Stocks: It’s worth checking to see how GMA 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 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. Thank you for reading.