Cyclicals are companies whose fortunes fluctuate according to the economic cycle. The price of a cyclical stock fluctuates in response to the health of the economy. As investors strive to purchase and sell these stocks at the lowest and highest points of a business cycle, their trading volumes also fluctuate greatly.

When the economy is growing, cyclical firms do well, but when the economy is falling, their profits and sales take a nosedive. To profit from cyclical equities, an investor must be strategic and know how to capitalize on the cycle by acquiring while assets are rising and selling when they fall.

However, when economic growth slows, non-cyclical stocks tend to outperform the market as a whole. It is common for non-cyclicals to excel in a downturn, even if the returns they provide are negative.

Which companies have cyclical stock prices?

The defining characteristic of cyclical stocks is that there is a strong emphasis on non-essential items and services in their operations. Most of them are products that people can easily do without if the economy experiences extreme stresses. Therefore, we can see them as stocks that are pegged on good economic times and vulnerable to a poor economy.  

Companies that rely primarily on disposable income for the majority of their revenues are sometimes classified as cyclical stocks. These may include companies across a variety of industry sectors, including but not limited to those in the entertainment and tourism industries; clothes; luxury; retail; hotels; technology; and many more.

Identifying cyclical companies

A cyclical stock may be judged using a variety of indicators. Firstly, we have the Beta value, which is a measure of risk. Beta levels for cyclicals tend to be greater than 1, which is why they tend to be more volatile. A beta of 1.5 indicates that if the market falls 20%, the stock will decrease 30%.

Because their earnings fluctuate so often in response to the state of the economy’s mood, cyclical stocks have erratic earnings per share (EPS). The price-earnings ratio, or P/E ratio, is a measure of a stock’s value compared to its earnings per share (EPS). Cyclicals tend to have lower PE ratios than defensive stocks, making them more affordable.

Implications of investing in cyclical stocks

The procedure of purchasing cyclicals is the same as buying any other stock. To buy these stocks online, use a brokerage firm. If you feel that this is a good moment to invest in cyclicals, you may hunt for them in non-essential industries where customers only spend money when they have a lot of it available.

It’s impossible to invest in stocks without taking on some risk. There is no assurance that money invested in stocks will grow. The first step is to look at the present state of the economy to choose whether or not to invest in cyclical equities.

As long as the economic crisis hasn’t yet begun, investors with a buy-and-hold attitude who are willing to put up with high levels of volatility could want to consider buying cyclicals when prices are still low. This approach, however, is not always successful. The stock may take years to recover if investors do not time their acquisition correctly.

Therefore, when investing in cyclicals, it’s a good idea to check the current health of the economy before making a purchase. Because such companies may still be priced at a low enough P/E multiple when the economy is beginning to recover from a slump, it may be a good opportunity to purchase them.

Advantages and disadvantages of cyclical stocks

Advantages

  • They may be bought at a bargain: Stocks that have fallen in value during a recession may be good buys because of the way cyclical stock prices fluctuate with economic developments. Buy low and hold on to your stock when the market recovers.
  • They experience optimal growth: Cyclical stocks always perform at their best when the economy is doing well. In some instances, even if growth stocks and the entire market are beaten, some stocks can still outperform.
  • Perfectly-timed investments: A good investment is one that is made just as the market is about to take off. In order for an investor to reap big benefits, they must know when the economy is about to take off. With cyclical stocks, timing is everything; if you can get the timing perfect just before the economy begins to rebound, you’ll be sure to earn a sizable profit.
  • Stimulus investments when interest rates come down: Stocks with higher values while interest rates are going lower are known as “stimulus” investments. Under such circumstances, interest rates are expected to remain low, which should lead to a rise in earnings. Stock prices reflect this as well. Because of this, cyclical equities benefit greatly when interest rates decrease, and investors tend to realize sizable profits as a result.

Disadvantages

  • They depreciate significantly during periods of economic contraction: Their values drop significantly during economic downturns because they tend to be influenced by changing business cycles.
  • They are tethered to the performance of the broader economy: Economies rise, decline, and then bounce back. An economic or stock market shock might happen at any time. Even if a firm has a solid track record and is well-managed, its stock price might still plummet if the broader business cycle turns against it.

In summary

Cyclicals can earn big returns but are also susceptible to recessions. Therefore, it is advantageous for investors to have both cyclical and non-cyclical assets so that they may benefit from an expanding economy while also protecting themselves against the negative effects of a bad economy.