For ChemoCentryx Inc’s (NASDAQ:CCXI) 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 CCXI. The first risk to consider is company-specific, which can be diversified away when you invest in other companies in the same industry as CCXI, because it is rare that an entire industry collapses at once. 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 all stocks are expose 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. 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.
An interpretation of CCXI’s beta
ChemoCentryx’s five-year beta of 1.78 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, CCXI 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.
Does CCXI’s size and industry impact the expected beta?
With a market cap of US$546.06m, CCXI falls within the small-cap spectrum of stocks, which are found to experience higher relative risk compared to larger companies. Conversely, the company operates in the biotechs industry, which has been found to have low sensitivity to market-wide shocks. Therefore, investors can expect a high beta associated with the size of CCXI, but a lower beta given the nature of the industry it operates in. This is an interesting conclusion, since its industry suggests CCXI should be less volatile than it actually is. There may be a more fundamental driver which can explain this inconsistency, which we will examine below.
Can CCXI’s asset-composition point to a higher 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 CCXI’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 is virtually non-existent in CCXI’s operations, it has low dependency on fixed costs to generate revenue. Thus, we can expect CCXI 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. However, this is the opposite to what CCXI’s actual beta value suggests, which is higher stock volatility relative to the market.
What this means for you:
You could benefit from higher returns during times of economic growth by holding onto CCXI. 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 CCXI is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as ChemoCentryx’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 CCXI’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for CCXI’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has CCXI 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 CCXI’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.