Before You Buy PriceSmart, Inc. (NASDAQ:PSMT), Consider Its Volatility

If you’re interested in PriceSmart, Inc. (NASDAQ:PSMT), 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. 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 sort is caused by the natural volatility of markets, overall. For example, certain macroeconomic events will impact (virtually) all stocks on the market.

Some stocks mimic the volatility of the market quite closely, while others demonstrate muted, exagerrated or uncorrelated 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. 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.

View our latest analysis for PriceSmart

What PSMT’s beta value tells investors

Looking at the last five years, PriceSmart has a beta of 0.87. The fact that this is well below 1 indicates that its share price movements haven’t historically been very sensitive to overall market volatility. If history is a good guide, owning the stock should help ensure that your portfolio is not overly sensitive to market volatility. Beta is worth considering, but it’s also important to consider whether PriceSmart is growing earnings and revenue. You can take a look for yourself, below.

NasdaqGS:PSMT Income Statement, April 9th 2019
NasdaqGS:PSMT Income Statement, April 9th 2019

Does PSMT’s size influence the expected beta?

PriceSmart is a small company, but not tiny and little known. It has a market capitalisation of US$1.8b, which means it would be on the radar of intstitutional investors. Small companies often have a high beta value, but they can be heavily influenced by company-specific events. This might explain why this stock has a low beta.

What this means for you:

Since PriceSmart is not heavily influenced by market moves, its share price is probably far more dependend on company specific developments. It could pay to take a closer look at metrics such as revenue growth, earnings growth, and debt. In order to fully understand whether PSMT is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as PriceSmart’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 PSMT’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for PSMT’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has PSMT 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 PSMT’s historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other Interesting Stocks: It’s worth checking to see how PSMT 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.