Anyone researching Saia, Inc. (NASDAQ:SAIA) 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 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 SAIA's beta value mean to investors?
Given that it has a beta of 1.1, we can surmise that the Saia share price has been fairly sensitive to market volatility (over the last 5 years). If this beta value holds true in the future, Saia 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 Saia fares in that regard, below.
How does SAIA's size impact its beta?
Saia is a fairly large company. It has a market capitalisation of US$2.3b, which means it is probably on the radar of most investors. It takes deep pocketed investors to influence the share price of a large company, so it's a little unusual to see companies this size with high beta values. It may be that that this company is more heavily impacted by broader economic factors than most.
What this means for you:
Since Saia 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. In order to fully understand whether SAIA is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Saia’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 SAIA’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for SAIA’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has SAIA 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 SAIA's historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how SAIA 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.