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Session 5: Measuring equity risk with “ diversified investors ”

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Session 5: Measuring equity risk with “ diversified investors ”. Aswath Damodaran. Risk to diversified investors…. If investors are diversified, the only risk that they should care about, when investing in an asset, is the risk that it adds to a portfolio.

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risk to diversified investors
Risk to diversified investors…
  • If investors are diversified, the only risk that they should care about, when investing in an asset, is the risk that it adds to a portfolio.
  • While all conventional risk and return models in finance share the assumption that investors are diversified, they vary on how best to measure this non-diversifiable risk.
    • In the CAPM, with its assumptions of no transactions costs and no private information, every investor holds a supremely diversified portfolio (the market portfolio) and the non-diversifiable risk is measured relative to this portfolio with a beta.
    • In the APM and multi-factor models, you allow for multiple sources of market risk and betas relative to each one.
estimating beta market regression
Estimating Beta: Market Regression
  • The standard procedure for estimating betas is to regress stock returns (Rj) against market returns (Rm) -

Rj = a + b Rm

    • where a is the intercept and b is the slope of the regression.
  • The slope of the regression corresponds to the beta of the stock, and measures the riskiness of the stock.
  • This beta has three problems:
    • It has high standard error
    • It reflects the firm’s business mix over the period of the regression, not the current mix
    • It reflects the firm’s average financial leverage over the period rather than the current leverage.
solutions to the regression beta problem
Solutions to the Regression Beta Problem
  • Modify the regression beta by
    • changing the index used to estimate the beta
    • adjusting the regression beta estimate, by bringing in information about the fundamentals of the company
  • Estimate the beta for the firm using
    • the standard deviation in stock prices instead of a regression against an index
    • accounting earnings or revenues, which are less noisy than market prices.
  • Estimate the beta for the firm from the bottom up without employing the regression technique. This will require
    • understanding the business mix of the firm
    • estimating the financial leverage of the firm
  • Use an alternative measure of market risk not based upon a regression.
bottom up beta firm in multiple businesses sap in 2004
Bottom-up Beta: Firm in Multiple BusinessesSAP in 2004
  • Approach 1: Based on business mix
    • SAP is in three business: software, consulting and training. We will aggregate the consulting and training businesses

Business Revenues EV/Sales Value Weights Beta

Software $ 5.3 3.25 17.23 80% 1.30

Consulting $ 2.2 2.00 4.40 20% 1.05

SAP $ 7.5 21.63 1.25

  • Approach 2: Customer Base
why bottom up betas
Why bottom-up betas?
  • The standard error in a bottom-up beta will be significantly lower than the standard error in a single regression beta. Roughly speaking, the standard error of a bottom-up beta estimate can be written as follows:

Std error of bottom-up beta =

  • The bottom-up beta can be adjusted to reflect changes in the firm’s business mix and financial leverage. Regression betas reflect the past.
  • You can estimate bottom-up betas even when you do not have historical stock prices. This is the case with initial public offerings, private businesses or divisions of companies.