CAPM (Capital Asset Pricing Model)

What is CAPM?

CAPM (Capital Asset Pricing Model) is a model that shows the relationship between market risk and the expected return for stock.  This model, developed by Jack Treynor, William Sharpe, Jan Mossin, and John Lintner, is one of two pricing models used to calculate the expected return of a stock.  The other popular method is the discounted cash flow. The formula for CAPM is:

  • Expected Return = Risk Free + Beta * (Market Return – Risk Free)

The CAPM  has several assumptions inherent with the calculation.  The first assumption is that investors are rational and risk averse.  The market return rate includes a broad range of assets.  Start pricing cannot be influenced by individual market participants.  Stock transactions do not include taxes or transaction fees.  Finally, the formula is predicated on the assumption that the company’s information is available to all potential investors.

There are several issues with the application of the CAPM formula.  First, the model is applicable for a single stock.  From this, the usage of the formula is a limited. Some empirical studies have suggested that CAPM is not a good predictor of future expected returns.  Data used for the calculations are historical.  From this, predicting the future events that may impact a stock return is difficult.  Behavioral aspects of investing are not taken into account in the formula.  Finally, assuming all market participants are risk adverse is contrary to other current finance theories, such as behavioral finance.

Why Is CAPM Important?

This formula is important for finance students because of the numerous applications of the formula.  For example, CAPM is a popular formula for calculating the cost of equity, which is used in the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) formulas. By understanding this formula, finance students will better understand how to manipulate the formula and apply it to various problems faced in popular finance courses.

Investors need to understand the CAPM formula for different reasons.  This formula will allow investors to determine how much of a return a particular stock may yield.  Further, the components within the formula taken a consideration the overall stock markets return, the risk-free rate of return, and beta.  By using these calculations from historical events, a tool is available for investors to determine the likelihood of a return on an asset.

Who needs to understand CAPM?

Are numerous groups of people who need to understand the components of CAPM and how to apply the formula properly in different situations.  Finance students need to understand this formula because of the different calculations that are reliant on this model.  For example, the cost of equity, which is part of the weighted average cost of capital formula, is a critical component for determining the cost of equity for company.  Investors need to understand the formula because this model is an excellent gauge for the expected return of the stock.  Finally, small business owners should understand this model because of their continuous need to assess capital budgeting projects.

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How CAPM Help Could Benefit:

  • CAPM is a simple model to understand. However, applying the model to real-life financing scenarios is complicated.  From this, a professional tutor will be able to guide you through properly applying this model to popular finance challenges.
  • Finance tutors will be able to explain the different components of the model. From this explanation, students will be able to better understand how changing one component will have different impacts on the expected return for a stock.
  • CAPM templates – Our finance tutors will be able to create templates that students can use to solve future expected rate of return and cost of equity problems.

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Step By Step CAPM Calculations:

CAPM Formula

CAPM Terminology:

The variables used to calculate the CAPM are risk-free rate, market return, and beta of the stock.

  • Risk Free Rate (rf)- The risk-free rate is the interest rate that an investor may receive by investing in an asset with no risk.  This is usually the US treasury bill or treasury bond.
  • Market Return (rm) - The market return is the overall return on the market.  Popular interest rates used for market return is the S&P 500 and Dow 30 market returns for the last 10 years.
  • Beta (B)- Beta is the measurement of how risky and investment is as compared to the overall market.  This figure may be found on most finance websites.

Using CAPM Formula.

To use the CAPM formula, first you must gather all the relevant variable data components.  Next, the market return is subtracted from the risk-free rate.  This will give you the market premium.  With the market premium, multiply this by the beta.  Finally, add back in the risk-free interest rate and the answer is the expected rate of return.  This number may be used for numerous calculations and finance such as the weighted average cost of capital.

Concluding Thoughts About CAPM:

The capital asset pricing model (CAPM) is commonly used by investors and finance professionals to assess the expected rate of return for stock.  Understanding this formula is critical for both finance students and investors.  Finance students will use this formula in numerous calculations in many popular finance courses.  Investors need to understand this model because of the proven reliability from several empirical studies.  Using a finance tutor to understand this information will enable finance students to possibly receive better grades.