How Does John Wood Group PLC (LON:WG.) Affect Your Portfolio Returns?

If you are a shareholder in John Wood Group PLC’s (LSE:WG.), 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 WG.. 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 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.

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 John Wood Group

What is WG.’s market risk?

With a five-year beta of 0.31, John Wood Group appears to be a less volatile company compared to the rest of the market. This means the stock is more defensive against the ups and downs of a stock market, moving by less than the entire market index in times of change. WG.’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.

LSE:WG. Income Statement Mar 3rd 18
LSE:WG. Income Statement Mar 3rd 18

How does WG.’s size and industry impact its risk?

With a market capitalisation of UK£4.15B, WG. is considered an established entity, which has generally experienced less relative risk in comparison to smaller sized companies. But, WG.’s industry, energy services, is considered to be cyclical, which means it is more volatile than the market over the economic cycle. As a result, we should expect a low beta for the large-cap nature of WG. but a higher beta for the energy services industry. This is an interesting conclusion, since its industry suggests WG. should be more volatile than it actually is. There may be a more fundamental driver which can explain this inconsistency, which we will examine below.

Can WG.’s asset-composition point to a higher 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 test WG.’s ratio of fixed assets to total assets in order to determine how high the risk is associated with this type of constraint. Considering fixed assets account for less than a third of the company’s overall assets, WG. seems to have a smaller dependency on fixed costs to generate revenue. Thus, we can expect WG. 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.

What this means for you:

You may reap the benefit of muted movements during times of economic decline by holding onto WG.. Its low fixed cost also means that, in terms of operating leverage, its costs are relatively malleable to preserve margins. What I have not mentioned in my article here are important company-specific fundamentals such as John Wood Group’s financial health and performance track record. I highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for WG.’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for WG.’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has WG. 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 WG.’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.