Before You Buy PICO Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:PICO), Consider Its Volatility

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Anyone researching PICO Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:PICO) 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. 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 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 greater than one is more sensitive to broader market movements than a stock with a beta of less than one.

See our latest analysis for PICO Holdings

What does PICO’s beta value mean to investors?

PICO Holdings has a five-year beta of 0.96. 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. Beta is worth considering, but it’s also important to consider whether PICO Holdings is growing earnings and revenue. You can take a look for yourself, below.

NasdaqGS:PICO Income Statement, May 3rd 2019
NasdaqGS:PICO Income Statement, May 3rd 2019

Does PICO’s size influence the expected beta?

PICO Holdings is a rather small company. It has a market capitalisation of US$227m, which means it is probably under the radar of most investors. It doesn’t take much money to really move the share price of a company as small as this one. That makes it somewhat unusual that it has a beta value so close to the overall market.

What this means for you:

PICO Holdings 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 PICO is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as PICO Holdings’s financial health and performance track record. I highly recommend you dive deeper by considering the following:

  1. Financial Health: Are PICO’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
  2. Past Track Record: Has PICO 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 PICO’s historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

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.