Should You Be Holding West Wits Mining Limited (ASX:WWI) Right Now?

If you are looking to invest in West Wits Mining Limited’s (ASX:WWI), or currently own the stock, then you need to understand its beta in order to understand how it can affect the risk of your portfolio. There are two types of risks that affect the market value of a listed company such as WWI. The first type is company-specific risk, which can be diversified away by investing in other companies to reduce exposure to one particular stock. The second risk is market-wide, which arises from investing in the stock market. This risk reflects changes in economic and political factors that affects all stocks.

Not every stock is exposed to the same level of market risk. The most widely used metric to quantify a stock’s market risk is beta, and the market as a whole represents a beta of one. A stock with a beta greater than one is expected to exhibit higher volatility resulting from market-wide shocks compared to one with a beta below one.

See our latest analysis for West Wits Mining

What is WWI’s market risk?

West Wits Mining has a beta of 2.01, which means that the percentage change in its stock value will be higher than the entire market in times of booms and busts. A high level of beta means investors face higher risk associated with potential gains and losses driven by market movements. According to this value of beta, WWI will help diversify your portfolio, if it currently comprises of low-beta stocks. This will be beneficial for portfolio returns, in particular, when current market sentiment is positive.

ASX:WWI Income Statement Mar 1st 18
ASX:WWI Income Statement Mar 1st 18

How does WWI’s size and industry impact its risk?

WWI, with its market capitalisation of AU$13.64M, 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 higher beta for small-cap stocks in a cyclical industry compared to larger stocks in a defensive industry. This supports our interpretation of WWI’s beta value discussed above. Fundamental factors can also drive the cyclicality of the stock, which we will take a look at next.

How WWI’s assets could affect its 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 WWI’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 a fixed to total assets ratio of over 30%, WWI seems to be a company which invests a big chunk of its capital on assets that cannot be scaled down on short-notice. Thus, we can expect WWI to be more volatile in the face of market movements, relative to its peers of similar size but with a lower proportion of fixed assets on their books. Similarly, WWI’s beta value conveys the same message.

What this means for you:

You may reap the gains of WWI’s returns in times of an economic boom. Though the business does have higher fixed cost than what is considered safe, during times of growth, consumer demand may be high enough to not warrant immediate concerns. However, during a downturn, a more defensive stock can cushion the impact of this risk. What I have not mentioned in my article here are important company-specific fundamentals such as West Wits Mining’s financial health and performance track record. I highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Financial Health: Is WWI’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
  2. Past Track Record: Has WWI 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 WWI’s historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.