How Does Sierra Oncology, Inc. (NASDAQ:SRRA) Affect Your Portfolio Volatility?

If you’re interested in Sierra Oncology, Inc. (NASDAQ:SRRA), 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. 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. 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.

View our latest analysis for Sierra Oncology

What does SRRA’s beta value mean to investors?

Zooming in on Sierra Oncology, we see it has a five year beta of 1.77. This is above 1, so historically its share price has been influenced by the broader volatility of the stock market. If this beta value holds true in the future, Sierra Oncology shares are likely to rise more than the market when the market is going up, but fall faster when the market is going down. 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 Sierra Oncology fares in that regard, below.

NasdaqGM:SRRA Income Statement, April 19th 2019
NasdaqGM:SRRA Income Statement, April 19th 2019

How does SRRA’s size impact its beta?

Sierra Oncology is a rather small company. It has a market capitalisation of US$109m, which means it is probably under the radar of most investors. 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:

Since Sierra Oncology 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 SRRA is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Sierra Oncology’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 SRRA’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for SRRA’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has SRRA 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 SRRA’s historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other Interesting Stocks: It’s worth checking to see how SRRA 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.