Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (NYSE:PEI): Risks You Need To Consider Before Buying

If you are looking to invest in Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust’s (NYSE:PEI), 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 PEI. The first type is company-specific risk, which can be diversified away by investing in other companies to reduce exposure to one particular stock. 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 Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust

What does PEI’s beta value mean?

Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust has a beta of 1.19, which means that the percentage change in its stock value will be higher than the entire market in times of booms and busts. A high level of beta means investors face higher risk associated with potential gains and losses driven by market movements. Based on this beta value, PEI may be a stock for investors with a portfolio mainly made up of low-beta stocks. This is because during times of bullish sentiment, you can reap more of the upside with high-beta stocks compared to muted movements of low-beta holdings.

NYSE:PEI Income Statement Export July 25th 18
NYSE:PEI Income Statement Export July 25th 18

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

PEI, with its market capitalisation of US$847.60m, is a small-cap stock, which generally have higher beta than similar companies of larger size. Furthermore, the company operates in the reits industry, which has been found to have high sensitivity to market-wide shocks. So, investors should expect a larger beta for smaller companies operating in a cyclical industry in contrast with lower beta for larger firms in a more defensive industry. This supports our interpretation of PEI’s beta value discussed above. Next, we will examine the fundamental factors which can cause cyclicality in the stock.

Can PEI’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 examine PEI’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 a fixed to total assets ratio of over 30%, PEI seems to be a company which invests a big chunk of its capital on assets that cannot be scaled down on short-notice. Thus, we can expect PEI 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 is consistent with is current beta value which also indicates high volatility.

What this means for you:

You could benefit from higher returns from PEI during times of economic growth. Its higher fixed cost isn’t a major concern given margins are covered with high consumer demand. Though, in times of a downturn, it may be safe to look at a more defensive stock which can cushion the impact of lower demand. In order to fully understand whether PEI is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust’s financial health and performance track record. I highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for PEI’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for PEI’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has PEI 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 PEI’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.

To help readers see pass 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 editorial-team@simplywallst.com.