Can 500com Limited (NYSE:WBAI) Improve Your Portfolio Returns?

For 500com Limited’s (NYSE:WBAI) shareholders, and also potential investors in the stock, understanding how the stock’s risk and return characteristics can impact your portfolio is important. There are two types of risks that affect the market value of a listed company such as WBAI. 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 type is market risk, one that you cannot diversify away, since it arises from macroeconomic factors which directly affects all the stocks in the market.

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 considered more sensitive to market-wide shocks compared to a stock that trades below the value of one.

Check out our latest analysis for 500.com

What does WBAI’s beta value mean?

500.com’s beta of 0.018 indicates that the company is less volatile relative to the diversified market portfolio. 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. WBAI’s beta implies it may be a stock that investors with high-beta portfolios might find relevant if they wanted to reduce their exposure to market risk, especially during times of downturns.

NYSE:WBAI Income Statement June 28th 18
NYSE:WBAI Income Statement June 28th 18

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

WBAI, with its market capitalisation of US$661.95m, is a small-cap stock, which generally have higher beta than similar companies of larger size. In addition to size, WBAI also operates in the hospitality industry, which has commonly demonstrated strong reactions to market-wide shocks. As a result, we should expect a high beta for the small-cap WBAI but a low beta for the hospitality industry. This is an interesting conclusion, since both WBAI’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.

How WBAI’s assets could affect its 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 WBAI’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, WBAI seems to have a smaller dependency on fixed costs to generate revenue. 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, WBAI’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 WBAI. Its low fixed cost also means that, in terms of operating leverage, its costs are relatively malleable to preserve margins. In order to fully understand whether WBAI is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as 500.com’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 WBAI’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 WBAI 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 WBAI’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.