If you're interested in Lithia Motors, Inc. (NYSE:LAD), 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 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 see their prices move in concert with the market. Others tend towards stronger, gentler or unrelated 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 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.
What we can learn from LAD's beta value
Zooming in on Lithia Motors, we see it has a five year beta of 1.11. 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, Lithia Motors shares are likely to rise more than the market when the market is going up, but fall faster when the market is going down. 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 Lithia Motors's revenue and earnings in the image below.
How does LAD's size impact its beta?
Lithia Motors is a fairly large company. It has a market capitalisation of US$3.0b, which means it is probably on the radar of most investors. It has a relatively high beta, suggesting it may be somehow leveraged to macroeconomic conditions. For example, it might be a high growth stock with lots of investors trading the shares. It's notable when large companies to have high beta values, because it usually takes substantial capital flows to move their share prices.
What this means for you:
Since Lithia Motors tends to moves up when the market is going up, and down when it's going down, potential investors may wish to reflect on the overall market, when considering the stock. This article aims to educate investors about beta values, but it's well worth looking at important company-specific fundamentals such as Lithia Motors’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 LAD’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for LAD’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has LAD 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 LAD's historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how LAD measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.