For ENGlobal Corporation’s (NASDAQ:ENG) shareholders, and also potential investors in the stock, understanding how the stock’s risk and return characteristics can impact your portfolio is important. Every stock in the market is exposed to market risk, which arises from macroeconomic factors such as economic growth and geo-political tussles just to name a few. This is measured by its beta. Not every stock is exposed to the same level of market risk, and the market as a whole 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.
An interpretation of ENG’s beta
ENGlobal’s five-year beta of 1.09 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. Based on this beta value, ENG 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.
Could ENG’s size and industry cause it to be more volatile?
With a market cap of US$21.47M, ENG falls within the small-cap spectrum of stocks, which are found to experience higher relative risk compared to larger companies. In addition to size, ENG also operates in the energy services industry, which has commonly demonstrated strong reactions 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 is consistent with ENG’s individual beta value we discussed above. Fundamental factors can also drive the cyclicality of the stock, which we will take a look at next.
Can ENG’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 ENG’s ratio of fixed assets to total assets in order to determine how high the risk is associated with this type of constraint. Since ENG’s fixed assets are only 17.14% of its total assets, it doesn’t depend heavily on a high level of these rigid and costly assets to operate its business. 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 ENG’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 ENG’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 ENG. In order to fully understand whether ENG is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as ENGlobal’s financial health and performance track record. I urge you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:
- Financial Health: Is ENG’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.
- Past Track Record: Has ENG 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 ENG’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 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.