What You Must Know About Starr Peak Exploration Ltd’s (CVE:STE) Market Risks

For Starr Peak Exploration Ltd’s (TSXV:STE) shareholders, and also potential investors in the stock, understanding how the stock’s risk and return characteristics can impact your portfolio is important. Broadly speaking, there are two types of risk you should consider when investing in stocks such as STE. 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.

Different characteristics of a stock expose it to various levels 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. Any stock with a beta of greater than one is considered more volatile than the market, and those with a beta less than one is generally less volatile.

View our latest analysis for Starr Peak Exploration

An interpretation of STE’s beta

Starr Peak Exploration’s five-year beta of 2.35 means that the company’s value will swing up by more than the market during prosperous times, but also drop down by more in times of downturns. This level of volatility indicates bigger risk for investors who passively invest in the stock market index. Based on this beta value, STE 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.

TSXV:STE Income Statement Mar 29th 18
TSXV:STE Income Statement Mar 29th 18

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

STE, with its market capitalisation of CA$2.46M, is a small-cap stock, which generally have higher beta than similar companies of larger size. Moreover, STE’s industry, metals and mining, is considered to be cyclical, which means it is more volatile than the market over the economic cycle. 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 STE’s individual beta value we discussed above. Fundamental factors can also drive the cyclicality of the stock, which we will take a look at next.

Is STE’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 STE’s ratio of fixed assets to total assets to see whether the company is highly exposed to the risk of this type of constraint. STE’s fixed assets to total assets ratio of higher than 30% shows that the company uses up a big chunk of its capital on assets that are hard to scale up or down in short notice. Thus, we can expect STE 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. 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 STE 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. What I have not mentioned in my article here are important company-specific fundamentals such as Starr Peak Exploration’s financial health and performance track record. I urge you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Financial Health: Is STE’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 STE 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 STE’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.