For African Battery Metals Plc’s (LON:ABM) shareholders, and also potential investors in the stock, understanding how the stock’s risk and return characteristics can impact your portfolio is important. Generally, an investor should consider two types of risk that impact the market value of ABM. The first risk to consider is company-specific, which can be diversified away when you invest in other companies in the same industry as ABM, because it is rare that an entire industry collapses at once. The other type of risk, which cannot be diversified away, is market risk. Every stock in the market is exposed to this risk, which arises from macroeconomic factors such as economic growth and geo-political tussles just to name a few.
Different characteristics of a stock expose it to various levels of market risk. A popular measure of market risk for a stock is its beta, and the market as a whole represents a beta value of one. A stock with a beta greater than one is considered more sensitive to market-wide shocks compared to a stock that trades below the value of one.
An interpretation of ABM’s beta
African Battery Metals’s beta of 0.012 indicates that the company is less volatile relative to the diversified market portfolio. This means that the change in ABM’s value, whether it goes up or down, will be of a smaller degree than the change in value of the entire stock market index. ABM’s beta indicates it is a stock that investors may find valuable if they want to reduce the overall market risk exposure of their stock portfolio.
Does ABM’s size and industry impact the expected beta?
ABM, with its market capitalisation of UK£2.00m, is a small-cap stock, which generally have higher beta than similar companies of larger size. Furthermore, the company operates in the metals and mining industry, which has been found to have high sensitivity to market-wide shocks. As a result, we should expect a high beta for the small-cap ABM but a low beta for the metals and mining industry. It seems as though there is an inconsistency in risks portrayed by ABM’s size and industry relative to its actual beta value. There may be a more fundamental driver which can explain this inconsistency, which we will examine below.
Can ABM’s asset-composition point to a higher beta?
During times of economic downturn, low demand may cause companies to readjust production of their goods and services. It is more difficult for companies to lower their cost, if the majority of these costs are generated by fixed assets. Therefore, this is a type of risk which is associated with higher beta. I examine ABM’s ratio of fixed assets to total assets to see whether the company is highly exposed to the risk of this type of constraint. Given that fixed assets make up less than a third of the company’s total assets, ABM doesn’t rely heavily upon these expensive, inflexible assets to run its business during downturns. Thus, we can expect ABM to be more stable in the face of market movements, relative to its peers of similar size but with a higher portion of fixed assets on their books. This is consistent with is current beta value which also indicates low volatility.