Anyone researching Global Vanadium Limited (ASX:GLV) 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. 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 are more sensitive to general market forces than others. 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 does GLV’s beta value mean to investors?

As it happens, Global Vanadium has a five year beta of 0.93. This is fairly close to 1, so the stock has historically shown a somewhat similar level of volatility as the market. If the future looks like the past, we could therefore consider it likely that the stock price will experience share price volatility that is roughly similar to the overall market. 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 Global Vanadium fares in that regard, below.

Could GLV’s size cause it to be more volatile?

Global Vanadium is a noticeably small company, with a market capitalisation of AU$6.3m. Most companies this size are not always actively traded. Companies this small are usually more volatile than the market, whether or not that volatility is correlated. Therefore, it’s a bit surprising to see that this stock has a beta value so close to the overall market.

What this means for you:

It is probable that there is a link between the share price of Global Vanadium and the broader market, since it has a beta value quite close to one. However, long term investors are generally well served by looking past market volatility and focussing on the underlying development of the business. If that’s your game, metrics such as revenue, earnings and cash flow will be more useful. In order to fully understand whether GLV is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Global Vanadium’s financial health and performance track record.