If you are a shareholder in National American University Holdings Inc’s (NASDAQ:NAUH), or are thinking about investing in the company, knowing how it contributes to the risk and reward profile of your portfolio is important. The beta measures NAUH’s exposure to the wider market risk, which reflects changes in economic and political factors. Not all stocks are expose to the same level of market risk, and the broad market index represents a beta value of one. A stock with a beta greater than one is expected to exhibit higher volatility resulting from market-wide shocks compared to one with a beta below one.
What does NAUH’s beta value mean?
National American University Holdings’s beta of 0.16 indicates that the stock value will be less variable compared to the whole stock market. This means the stock is more defensive against the ups and downs of a stock market, moving by less than the entire market index in times of change. Based on this beta value, NAUH appears to be a stock that an investor with a high-beta portfolio would look for to reduce risk exposure to the market.
How does NAUH’s size and industry impact its risk?
With a market cap of US$27.00M, NAUH falls within the small-cap spectrum of stocks, which are found to experience higher relative risk compared to larger companies. Furthermore, the company operates in the consumer services industry, which has been found to have high sensitivity to market-wide shocks. Therefore, investors may expect high beta associated with small companies, as well as those operating in the consumer services industry, relative to those more well-established firms in a more defensive industry. This is an interesting conclusion, since both NAUH’s size and industry indicates the stock should have a higher beta than it currently has. There may be a more fundamental driver which can explain this inconsistency, which we will examine below.
Is NAUH’s cost structure indicative of a high 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 examine NAUH’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%, NAUH 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 NAUH 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 NAUH’s current beta value which indicates a below-average volatility.
What this means for you:
You could benefit from lower risk during times of economic decline by holding onto NAUH. Take into account your portfolio sensitivity to the market before you invest in the stock, as well as where we are in the current economic cycle. Depending on the composition of your portfolio, NAUH may be a valuable stock to hold onto in order to cushion the impact of a downturn. What I have not mentioned in my article here are important company-specific fundamentals such as National American University Holdings’s financial health and performance track record. I highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:
- Financial Health: Is NAUH’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 NAUH 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 NAUH’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.