Before You Buy Spectrum ASA’s (OB:SPU), Consider This

If you are looking to invest in Spectrum ASA’s (OB:SPU), 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. Generally, an investor should consider two types of risk that impact the market value of SPU. The first risk to think about is company-specific, which can be diversified away by investing in other companies in order to lower your 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 all stocks are expose to the same level 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.

View our latest analysis for Spectrum

An interpretation of SPU’s beta

Spectrum’s beta of 0.6 indicates that the company is less volatile relative to the diversified market portfolio. The stock will exhibit muted movements in both the downside and upside, in response to changing economic conditions, whereas the general market may move by a lot more. Based on this beta value, SPU appears to be a stock that an investor with a high-beta portfolio would look for to reduce risk exposure to the market.

OB:SPU Income Statement May 7th 18
OB:SPU Income Statement May 7th 18

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

A market capitalisation of ØRE2.82B puts SPU in the category of small-cap stocks, which tends to possess higher beta than larger companies. Moreover, SPU’s industry, energy services, is considered to be cyclical, which means it is more volatile than the market over the economic cycle. Therefore, investors may expect high beta associated with small companies, as well as those operating in the energy services industry, relative to those more well-established firms in a more defensive industry. This is an interesting conclusion, since both SPU’s size and industry indicates the stock should have a higher beta than it currently has. There may be a more fundamental driver which can explain this inconsistency, which we will examine below.

Is SPU’s cost structure indicative of a high 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 test SPU’s ratio of fixed assets to total assets in order to determine how high the risk is associated with this type of constraint. Given that fixed assets make up an insignificant portion of total assets, SPU doesn’t rely heavily upon these expensive, inflexible assets to run its business during downturns. As a result, the company may be less volatile relative to broad market movements, compared to a company of similar size but higher proportion of fixed assets. Similarly, SPU’s beta value conveys the same message.

What this means for you:

You may reap the benefit of muted movements during times of economic decline by holding onto SPU. 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 Spectrum’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 SPU’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for SPU’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has SPU 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 SPU’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.