Before You Buy Protagonist Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTGX), Consider Its Volatility

If you’re interested in Protagonist Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTGX), 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. 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. 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 Protagonist Therapeutics

Want to help shape the future of investing tools and platforms? Take the survey and be part of one of the most advanced studies of stock market investors to date.

What PTGX’s beta value tells investors

Given that it has a beta of 1.96, we can surmise that the Protagonist Therapeutics share price has been fairly sensitive to market volatility (over the last 5 years). If the past is any guide, we would expect that Protagonist Therapeutics 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 Protagonist Therapeutics’s revenue and earnings in the image below.

NasdaqGM:PTGX Income Statement Export January 21st 19
NasdaqGM:PTGX Income Statement Export January 21st 19

How does PTGX’s size impact its beta?

Protagonist Therapeutics is a noticeably small company, with a market capitalisation of US$197m. Most companies this size are not always actively traded. It takes less money to influence the share price of a very small company. This may explain the excess volatility implied by this beta value.

What this means for you:

Beta only tells us that the Protagonist Therapeutics share price is sensitive to broader market movements. This could indicate that it is a high growth company, or is heavily influenced by sentiment because it is speculative. Alternatively, it could have operating leverage in its business model. Ultimately, beta is an interesting metric, but there’s plenty more to learn. In order to fully understand whether PTGX is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Protagonist Therapeutics’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 PTGX’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for PTGX’s outlook.
  2. Financial Health: Are PTGX’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.
  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.

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.