Why You Need To Look At This Factor Before Buying Atlatsa Resources Corporation (TSE:ATL)

If you are a shareholder in Atlatsa Resources Corporation’s (TSX:ATL), or are thinking about investing in the company, knowing how it contributes to the risk and reward profile of your portfolio is important. There are two types of risks that affect the market value of a listed company such as ATL. The first risk to consider is company-specific, which can be diversified away when you invest in other companies in the same industry as ATL, because it is rare that an entire industry collapses at once. 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 all stocks are expose to the same level of market risk. A widely-used metric to measure a stock’s market risk is beta, and the broad market index represents a beta value 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.

Check out our latest analysis for Atlatsa Resources

What does ATL’s beta value mean?

With a beta of 2.24, Atlatsa Resources is a stock that tends to experience more gains than the market during a growth phase and also a bigger reduction in value compared to the market during a broad downturn. According to this value of beta, ATL can help magnify your portfolio return, especially if it is predominantly made up of low-beta stocks. If the market is going up, a higher exposure to the upside from a high-beta stock can push up your portfolio return.

TSX:ATL Income Statement Jan 13th 18
TSX:ATL Income Statement Jan 13th 18

Could ATL’s size and industry cause it to be more volatile?

ATL, with its market capitalisation of CA$19.25M, is a small-cap stock, which generally have higher beta than similar companies of larger size. In addition to size, ATL also operates in the metals and mining industry, which has commonly demonstrated strong reactions 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 is consistent with ATL’s individual beta value we discussed above. Next, we will examine the fundamental factors which can cause cyclicality in the stock.

Is ATL’s cost structure indicative of a high beta?

An asset-heavy company tends to have a higher beta because the risk associated with running fixed assets during a downturn is highly expensive. I examine ATL’s ratio of fixed assets to total assets to see whether the company is highly exposed to the risk of this type of constraint. With a fixed-assets-to-total-assets ratio of greater than 30%, ATL appears to be a company that invests a large amount of capital in assets that are hard to scale down on short-notice. As a result, this aspect of ATL indicates a higher beta than a similar size company with a lower portion of fixed assets on their balance sheet. This is consistent with is current beta value which also indicates high volatility.

What this means for you:

You could benefit from higher returns from ATL during times of economic growth. Its higher fixed cost isn’t a major concern given margins are covered with high consumer demand. Though, in times of a downturn, it may be safe to look at a more defensive stock which can cushion the impact of lower demand. In order to fully understand whether XYZ is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Atlatsa Resources’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 ATL’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 ATL 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 ATL’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.