Anyone researching The Descartes Systems Group Inc (TSE:DSG) might want to consider the historical volatility of the share price. 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 type is company specific volatility. Investors use diversification across uncorrelated stocks to reduce this kind of price volatility across the portfolio. The second type is the broader market volatility, which you cannot diversify away, since it arises from macroeconomic factors which directly affects all the stocks on the market.
Some stocks see their prices move in concert with the market. Others tend towards stronger, gentler or unrelated price movements. Some investors use beta as a measure of how much a certain stock is impacted by market risk (volatility). While we should keep in mind that Warren Buffett has cautioned that 'Volatility is far from synonymous with risk', beta is still a useful factor to consider. To make good use of it you must first know that the beta of the overall market is 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 we can learn from DSG's beta value
Given that it has a beta of 0.84, we can surmise that the Descartes Systems Group share price has not been strongly impacted by broader market volatility (over the last 5 years). This suggests that including it in your portfolio will reduce volatility arising from broader market movements, assuming your portfolio's weighted average beta is higher than 0.84. 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 Descartes Systems Group fares in that regard, below.
Does DSG's size influence the expected beta?
Descartes Systems Group is a reasonably big company, with a market capitalisation of CA$4.8b. Most companies this size are actively traded with decent volumes of shares changing hands each day. When large companies like this one have a low beta value, there is usually some other factor that is having an outsized impact on the share price. For example, a business with significant fixed regulated assets might earn a reasonably predictable return, regardless of broader macroeconomic factors. Alternatively, lumpy earnings might mean minimal share price correlation with the broader market.
What this means for you:
The Descartes Systems Group 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 DSG is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Descartes Systems Group’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 DSG’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for DSG’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has DSG 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 DSG's historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how DSG measures up against other companies on valuation. You could start with this free list of prospective options.
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