What Kind Of Risk Should You Expect For Cyanotech Corporation (NASDAQ:CYAN)?

For Cyanotech Corporation’s (NASDAQ:CYAN) shareholders, and also potential investors in the stock, understanding how the stock’s risk and return characteristics can impact your portfolio is important. Broadly speaking, there are two types of risk you should consider when investing in stocks such as CYAN. 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. A widely-used metric to measure a stock’s market risk is beta, and the broad market index 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.

See our latest analysis for Cyanotech

What does CYAN’s beta value mean?

Cyanotech’s beta of 0.62 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. CYAN’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.

NasdaqCM:CYAN Income Statement Apr 26th 18
NasdaqCM:CYAN Income Statement Apr 26th 18

Could CYAN’s size and industry cause it to be more volatile?

A market capitalisation of US$24.38M puts CYAN in the category of small-cap stocks, which tends to possess higher beta than larger companies. But, CYAN’s industry, personal products, is considered to be defensive, which means it is less volatile than the market over the economic cycle. As a result, we should expect a high beta for the small-cap CYAN but a low beta for the personal products industry. It seems as though there is an inconsistency in risks from CYAN’s size and industry. A potential driver of this variance can be a fundamental factor, which we will take a look at next.

Can CYAN’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 CYAN’s ratio of fixed assets to total assets in order to determine how high the risk is associated with this type of constraint. With a fixed-assets-to-total-assets ratio of greater than 30%, CYAN appears to be a company that invests a large amount of capital in assets that are hard to scale down on short-notice. Thus, we can expect CYAN to be more volatile in the face of market movements, relative to its peers of similar size but with a lower proportion of fixed assets on their books. This outcome contradicts CYAN’s current beta value which indicates a below-average volatility.

What this means for you:

CYAN may be a worthwhile stock to hold onto in order to cushion the impact of a downturn. Depending on the composition of your portfolio, low-beta stocks such as CYAN is valuable to lower your risk of market exposure, in particular, during times of economic decline. What I have not mentioned in my article here are important company-specific fundamentals such as Cyanotech’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 CYAN’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 CYAN 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 CYAN’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.