Is Mueller Water Products, Inc. (NYSE:MWA) A Volatile Stock?

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If you’re interested in Mueller Water Products, Inc. (NYSE:MWA), then you might want to consider its beta (a measure of share price volatility) in order to understand how the stock could impact your portfolio. Volatility is considered to be a measure of risk in modern finance theory. Investors may think of volatility as falling into two main categories. The first type is company specific volatility. Investors use diversification across uncorrelated stocks to reduce this kind of price volatility across the 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. Some investors use beta as a measure of how much a certain stock is impacted by market risk (volatility). While we should keep in mind that Warren Buffett has cautioned that ‘Volatility is far from synonymous with risk’, beta is still a useful factor to consider. To make good use of it you must first know that the beta of the overall market is 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.

See our latest analysis for Mueller Water Products

What does MWA’s beta value mean to investors?

Looking at the last five years, Mueller Water Products has a beta of 1.18. The fact that this is well above 1 indicates that its share price movements have shown sensitivity to overall market volatility. If the past is any guide, we would expect that Mueller Water Products shares will rise quicker than the markets in times of optimism, but fall faster in times of pessimism. 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 Mueller Water Products’s revenue and earnings in the image below.

NYSE:MWA Income Statement, June 24th 2019
NYSE:MWA Income Statement, June 24th 2019

Could MWA’s size cause it to be more volatile?

Mueller Water Products is a small company, but not tiny and little known. It has a market capitalisation of US$1.6b, which means it would be on the radar of intstitutional investors. It’s not particularly surprising that it has a higher beta than the overall market. That’s because it takes less money to influence the share price of a smaller company, than a bigger company.

What this means for you:

Since Mueller Water Products has a reasonably high beta, it’s worth considering why it is so heavily influenced by broader market sentiment. For example, it might be a high growth stock or have a lot of operating leverage in its business model. In order to fully understand whether MWA is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Mueller Water Products’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 MWA’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for MWA’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has MWA 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 MWA’s historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other Interesting Stocks: It’s worth checking to see how MWA 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.