Anyone researching NIC Inc. (NASDAQ:EGOV) 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 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. 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 EGOV's beta value
Looking at the last five years, NIC has a beta of 0.87. The fact that this is well below 1 indicates that its share price movements haven't historically been very sensitive to overall market volatility. If history is a good guide, owning the stock should help ensure that your portfolio is not overly sensitive to market volatility. 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 NIC's revenue and earnings in the image below.
Could EGOV's size cause it to be more volatile?
NIC is a small cap stock with a market capitalisation of US$1.4b. Most companies this size are actively traded. Small cap stocks ofthen have a higher beta than the overall market. However, small companies can also be strongly impacted by company specific developments, which can move the share price in ways that are unrelated to the broader market. That could explain why this one has a low beta value.
What this means for you:
One potential advantage of owning low beta stocks like NIC is that your overall portfolio won't be too sensitive to overall market movements. However, this can be a blessing or a curse, depending on what's happening in the broader market. In order to fully understand whether EGOV is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as NIC’s financial health and performance track record. I urge you to continue your research by taking a look at the following:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for EGOV’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for EGOV’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has EGOV 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 EGOV's historicals for more clarity.
- Other Interesting Stocks: It's worth checking to see how EGOV 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.