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Anyone researching Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:AERI) might want to consider the historical volatility of the share price. 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 other type, which cannot be diversified away, is the volatility of the entire market. Every stock in the market is exposed to this volatility, which is linked to the fact that stocks prices are correlated in an efficient 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.
What AERI's beta value tells investors
Zooming in on Aerie Pharmaceuticals, we see it has a five year beta of 0.82. This is below 1, so historically its share price has been rather independent from the market. This means that -- if history is a guide -- buying the stock would reduce the impact of overall market volatility in many portfolios (depending on the beta of the portfolio, of course). 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 Aerie Pharmaceuticals's revenue and earnings in the image below.
How does AERI's size impact its beta?
With a market capitalisation of US$1.7b, Aerie Pharmaceuticals is a small cap stock. However, it is big enough to catch the attention of professional 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:
The Aerie Pharmaceuticals doesn't usually show much sensitivity to the broader market. This could be for a variety of reasons. Typically, smaller companies have a low beta if their share price tends to move a lot due to company specific developments. Alternatively, an strong dividend payer might move less than the market because investors are valuing it for its income stream. In order to fully understand whether AERI is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Aerie Pharmaceuticals’s financial health and performance track record. I highly recommend you dive deeper by considering the following:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for AERI’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for AERI’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has AERI 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 AERI's historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how AERI 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 email@example.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.