If you own shares in United Community Banks, Inc. (NASDAQ:UCBI) 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. The first category is company specific volatility. This can be dealt with by limiting your exposure to any particular stock. 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 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. 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 UCBI’s beta value
Zooming in on United Community Banks, we see it has a five year beta of 1.28. This is above 1, so historically its share price has been influenced by the broader volatility of the stock market. If this beta value holds true in the future, United Community Banks shares are likely to rise more than the market when the market is going up, but fall faster when the market is going down. 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 United Community Banks fares in that regard, below.
Could UCBI’s size cause it to be more volatile?
With a market capitalisation of US$2.4b, United Community Banks is a pretty big company, even by global standards. It is quite likely well known to very many investors. 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:
Beta only tells us that the United Community Banks 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. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it’s well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as United Community Banks’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 UCBI’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for UCBI’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has UCBI 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 UCBI’s historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It’s worth checking to see how UCBI measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.
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