How to find a company's cost of equityThe traditional approaches to determine the cost of equity use the dividend capitalization model and the capital asset pricing model (CAPM).Using the dividend capitalization model, the cost of equity formula is:
Cost of equity = (Annualized dividends per share / Current stock price) + Dividend growth rate
Cost of equity = Beta of investment x (Expected market rate of return-Risk-free rate of return) + Risk-free rate of return
The beta in this equation is a measure of how much on average a stock's price moves when the overall stock market gains or loses value. You can calculate beta yourself or use one of many online resources that list companies' betas over various time intervals and compared to various market benchmarks.
The expected market rate of return is the expected return of the overall stock market.
The risk-free rate of return is the lowest rate of return that investors are willing to accept in exchange for not assuming any financial risk -- usually approximated as the yield on three-month U.S. Treasury bills.For example, consider a company with a beta of 1.3, meaning that its stock price is 30% more volatile than the overall market. If the expected market return is 8% and three-month Treasury bills are yielding 0.05%, then the company's cost of equity using the CAPM model is 1.3 x (8%-0.05%) + 0.05% = 10.4%.