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What Are The Drivers Of Syndicated Metals Limited’s (ASX:SMD) Risks?

Bruce Howe

For Syndicated Metals Limited’s (ASX:SMD) shareholders, and also potential investors in the stock, understanding how the stock’s risk and return characteristics can impact your portfolio is important. The beta measures SMD’s exposure to the wider market risk, which reflects changes in economic and political factors. Different characteristics of a stock expose it to various levels of market risk, 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 Syndicated Metals

An interpretation of SMD’s beta

With a beta of 2.59, Syndicated Metals is a stock that tends to experience more gains than the market during a growth phase and also a bigger reduction in value compared to the market during a broad downturn. According to this value of beta, SMD 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 SMD’s size and industry impact the expected beta?

SMD, with its market capitalisation of AU$5.08M, is a small-cap stock, which generally have higher beta than similar companies of larger size. Moreover, SMD’s industry, metals and mining, is considered to be cyclical, which means it is more volatile than the market over the economic cycle. Therefore, investors may expect high beta associated with small companies, as well as those operating in the metals and mining industry, relative to those more well-established firms in a more defensive industry. This supports our interpretation of SMD’s beta value discussed above. Next, we will examine the fundamental factors which can cause cyclicality in the stock.

ASX:SMD Income Statement May 16th 18

How SMD’s assets could affect its 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 SMD’s ratio of fixed assets to total assets to see whether the company is highly exposed to the risk of this type of constraint. With a fixed-assets-to-total-assets ratio of greater than 30%, SMD appears to be a company that invests a large amount of capital in assets that are hard to scale down on short-notice. As a result, this aspect of SMD indicates a higher beta than a similar size company with a lower portion of fixed assets on their balance sheet. 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 SMD 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 SMD is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Syndicated Metals’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 SMD’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 SMD 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 SMD’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.