Barnwell Industries Inc (NYSEMKT:BRN): How Does It Impact Your Portfolio?

If you are a shareholder in Barnwell Industries Inc’s (AMEX:BRN), or are thinking about investing in the company, knowing how it contributes to the risk and reward profile of your portfolio is important. Broadly speaking, there are two types of risk you should consider when investing in stocks such as BRN. The first risk to consider is company-specific, which can be diversified away when you invest in other companies in the same industry as BRN, 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. 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 Barnwell Industries

What does BRN’s beta value mean?

Barnwell Industries’s five-year beta of 1.71 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. According to this value of beta, BRN 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.

AMEX:BRN Income Statement Feb 15th 18
AMEX:BRN Income Statement Feb 15th 18

Does BRN’s size and industry impact the expected beta?

BRN, with its market capitalisation of US$17.46M, is a small-cap stock, which generally have higher beta than similar companies of larger size. Moreover, BRN’s industry, oil and gas, 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 oil and gas industry, relative to those more well-established firms in a more defensive industry. This is consistent with BRN’s individual beta value we discussed above. Next, we will examine the fundamental factors which can cause cyclicality in the stock.

Can BRN’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 examine BRN’s ratio of fixed assets to total assets to see whether the company is highly exposed to the risk of this type of constraint. Given that fixed assets make up less than a third of the company’s total assets, BRN 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. However, this is the opposite to what BRN’s actual beta value suggests, which is higher stock volatility relative to the market.

What this means for you:

You may reap the gains of BRN’s returns during times of economic growth by holding the stock. Its low fixed cost also implies that it has the flexibility to adjust its cost to preserve margins during times of a downturn. I recommend analysing the stock in terms of your current portfolio composition before deciding to invest more into BRN. In order to fully understand whether BRN is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Barnwell Industries’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 BRN’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 BRN 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 BRN’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.