If you're interested in Synthetic Biologics, Inc. (NYSEMKT:SYN), 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. The first category is company specific volatility. This can be dealt with by limiting your exposure to any particular stock. 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 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.
What does SYN's beta value mean to investors?
Zooming in on Synthetic Biologics, we see it has a five year beta of 1.70. This is above 1, so historically its share price has been influenced by the broader volatility of the stock market. If the past is any guide, we would expect that Synthetic Biologics shares will rise quicker than the markets in times of optimism, but fall faster in times of pessimism. Beta is worth considering, but it's also important to consider whether Synthetic Biologics is growing earnings and revenue. You can take a look for yourself, below.
Does SYN's size influence the expected beta?
Synthetic Biologics is a rather small company. It has a market capitalisation of US$5.8m, which means it is probably under the radar of most investors. Relatively few investors can influence the price of a smaller company, compared to a large company. This could explain the high beta value, in this case.
What this means for you:
Since Synthetic Biologics 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 SYN is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Synthetic Biologics’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 SYN’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for SYN’s outlook.
Past Track Record: Has SYN 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 SYN's historicals for more clarity.
Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how SYN measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
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