Anyone researching Community Bank System, Inc. (NYSE:CBU) might want to consider the historical volatility of the share price. Volatility is considered to be a measure of risk in modern finance theory. Investors may think of volatility as falling into two main categories. 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 see their prices move in concert with the market. Others tend towards stronger, gentler or unrelated 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 greater than one is more sensitive to broader market movements than a stock with a beta of less than one.
What does CBU’s beta value mean to investors?
Community Bank System has a five-year beta of 0.94. 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. If the future looks like the past, we could therefore consider it likely that the stock price will experience share price volatility that is roughly similar to the overall market. 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 Community Bank System’s revenue and earnings in the image below.
Does CBU’s size influence the expected beta?
Community Bank System is a reasonably big company, with a market capitalisation of US$3.1b. Most companies this size are actively traded with decent volumes of shares changing hands each day. We shouldn’t be surprised to see a large company like this with a beta value quite close to the market average. Large companies often move roughly in line with the market. In part, that’s because there are fewer individual events that are signficant enough to markedly change the value of the stock (compared to small companies, at least).
What this means for you:
It is probable that there is a link between the share price of Community Bank System 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. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it’s well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as Community Bank System’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 CBU’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for CBU’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has CBU 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 CBU’s historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It’s worth checking to see how CBU measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
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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. Thank you for reading.