If you are looking to invest in ViewRay Inc’s (NASDAQ:VRAY), 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 VRAY. 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 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.
What is VRAY’s market risk?
With a five-year beta of 0.85, ViewRay appears to be a less volatile company compared to the rest of the market. 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. VRAY’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.
Does VRAY’s size and industry impact the expected beta?
With a market cap of US$864.97m, VRAY falls within the small-cap spectrum of stocks, which are found to experience higher relative risk compared to larger companies. But, VRAY’s industry, medical equipment, is considered to be defensive, which means it is less volatile than the market over the economic cycle. Therefore, investors can expect a high beta associated with the size of VRAY, but a lower beta given the nature of the industry it operates in. This is an interesting conclusion, since its size suggests VRAY 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 VRAY’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 VRAY’s ratio of fixed assets to total assets to see whether the company is highly exposed to the risk of this type of constraint. Considering fixed assets account for less than a third of the company’s overall assets, VRAY seems to have a smaller dependency on fixed costs to generate revenue. Thus, we can expect VRAY 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 could benefit from lower risk during times of economic decline by holding onto VRAY. Its low fixed cost also means that, in terms of operating leverage, it is relatively flexible during times of economic downturns. In order to fully understand whether VRAY is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as ViewRay’s financial health and performance track record. I urge you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for VRAY’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for VRAY’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has VRAY 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 VRAY’s historicals for more clarity.
- 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.
To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.
The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at email@example.com.