Summit Materials, Inc. (NYSE:SUM): What Does Its Beta Value Mean For Your Portfolio?

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If you’re interested in Summit Materials, Inc. (NYSE:SUM), 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. 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 mimic the volatility of the market quite closely, while others demonstrate muted, exagerrated or uncorrelated price movements. Beta can be a useful tool to understand how much a stock is influenced by market risk (volatility). However, Warren Buffett said ‘volatility is far from synonymous with risk’ in his 2014 letter to investors. So, while useful, beta is not the only metric to consider. To use beta as an investor, you must first understand that the overall market has a beta of 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.

View our latest analysis for Summit Materials

What does SUM’s beta value mean to investors?

Looking at the last five years, Summit Materials has a beta of 1.87. 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 Summit Materials shares will rise quicker than the markets in times of optimism, but fall faster in times of pessimism. 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 Summit Materials fares in that regard, below.

NYSE:SUM Income Statement Export February 14th 19
NYSE:SUM Income Statement Export February 14th 19

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

With a market capitalisation of US$1.8b, Summit Materials is a small cap stock. However, it is big enough to catch the attention of professional 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 Summit Materials 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. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it’s well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as Summit Materials’s financial health and performance track record. I urge you to continue your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for SUM’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for SUM’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has SUM 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 SUM’s historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other Interesting Stocks: It’s worth checking to see how SUM measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.