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Tickers in this Article: KH, AZZ, EDU, ACN, GNC, IOC, PNR
This morning has been rocky for the market. The Nasdaq is down 0.8%; the S&P 500 has decreased 0.7%; and the Dow has declined 0.7%. The NYSE is a stock exchange based in New York City, considered the largest equities-based exchange in the world based on total market capitalization of its listed securities.

The biggest movers traded on the NYSE so far are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
China Kanghui Holdings (NYSE:KH)$590.9 million+21.3%
AZZ (NYSE:AZZ)$878.6 million+16.2%
New Oriental Education & Tech Grp (NYSE:EDU)$2.46 billion+6.5%
Accenture (NYSE:ACN)$44.45 billion+6.4%
GNC Holdings (NYSE:GNC)$3.89 billion+3.4%
InterOil Corporation (NYSE:IOC)$3.77 billion-3.1%
Pentair (NYSE:PNR)$4.3 billion+2.7%
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China Kanghui Holdings (NYSE:KH) has soared 21.3% to reach a current price of $30.45 per share. The company's volume is currently 1.2 million shares for the day, 23.1 times the current daily average. As a stock moves up or down, it is important to pay attention to the trading volume. This indicates the level of interest: the higher the volume, the more the interest. It is important for an investor to estimate the value of any potential or existing investment; valuation ratios make this easier. The price/book value ratio is calculated by dividing the current stock price by the company's book value per share. KH has a P/B ratio of 3.89 which shows that its share price is higher than its book value. This implies that investors expect management to create more value from a given set of assets and/or that the market value of the firm's assets is significantly higher than their accounting value. One problem with the P/B value ratio is that it can be difficult to calculate the true book value of a company, so investors should be aware that many measures of book value may provide only a rough estimate, and should be taken with a grain of salt. SEE: Using The Price-To-Book Ratio To Evaluate Companies

AZZ (NYSE:AZZ) is currently at $40.40 per share after a dramatic increase of 16.2%. So far today, 554,767 shares of the company's stock have changed hands. This is more trading activity than there was yesterday. If a stock price moves on high volume, this means that the change is a significant one. When estimating the value of a particular investment, valuation ratios provide a good basis for assessing the value of an individual stock. For investors primarily interested in the income a stock can generate, the dividend yield is an important determinant of how attractive a stock is. AZZ has a dividend yield of 1.6%, which is fairly low. This could indicate that that the stock is overpriced or that future dividends might be higher. Just as with the yield on a bond or certificate of deposit, the higher the dividend yield, the higher the return to the investor. SEE: Guide To Stock-Picking Strategies: Income Investing

New Oriental Education & Tech Grp (NYSE:EDU) is up 6.5% to reach a current price of $16.56 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 2.5 million shares, 0.9 times the current three-month average. If a stock price makes a big move up or down, volume lets us know the significance of that move. While investment valuation ratios are useful tools in estimating the attractiveness of an investment, remember that it is important to look at a company's historical performance and compare the company ratios with its competitors and industry overall. The price/sales ratio measures a company's stock market value by its total revenues or alternatively, a company's price per share by its revenue per share. The P/S ratio for EDU is 5.44, which is relatively high. This could be a good sign if the share price increases. All things being equal, a low P/S ratio is good news for investors, while a very high one can be a warning sign.

Accenture (NYSE:ACN) has moved up 6.4% and is currently trading at $69.58 per share. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 4.7 million shares. Volume is also used as a secondary indicator to help confirm what the price movement is suggesting. Investment valuation ratios can be very useful in determining the value of a stock, but it is very important to keep in mind that while some financial ratios have general rules (or a broad application), in most instances it is a prudent practice to look at a company's historical performance and use peer company/industry comparisons to put any given company's ratio in perspective. The debt ratio measures the leverage of a company, and a company's leverage is a good way to assess risk. ACN has a debt ratio of 73.6%, which is on the high side. As such, the company is highly leveraged and not highly liquid. As with all financial ratios, a company's debt ratio should be compared with the industry average or similar companies.

GNC Holdings (NYSE:GNC) has risen 3.4% and is currently trading at $38.26 per share. At 1.3 million shares, the company's volume so far today is one times the average daily volume. Price change alone is not enough to know how a stock is doing. Volume is an important secondary indicator used to confirm trends suggested by price movement. In making a decision about a potential or existing investment, valuation ratios are useful as a basis for seeing whether the stock price is too high, reasonable, or a bargain. The debt-equity (D/E) ratio is a measurement of how much suppliers, lenders, creditors and obligors have committed to the company versus what the shareholders have committed. GNC's D/E ratio is 84%. The D/E ratio percentage provides a much more dramatic perspective on a company's leverage position than the debt ratio percentage.

Slipping 3.1%, InterOil Corporation (NYSE:IOC) is currently trading at $75.54 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 209,833 shares. At this rate, trading activity will likely be down from yesterday when 808,978 shares changed hands. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest. A wide array of ratios can be used by investors to estimate the attractiveness of a potential or existing investment and get an idea of its valuation. The capitalization ratio measures the debt component of the capital structure, or capitalization of a company (i.e., the sum of long-term debt liabilities and shareholder equity) to support operations and growth. IOC's capitalization ratio is 10.7%, which is relatively low. Low leverage is a significant balance sheet strength, a sign of a less risky investment. A low level of debt and a healthy proportion of equity in a company's capital structure is an indication of financial fitness.

Pentair (NYSE:PNR) is at $44.55 per share after an increase of 2.7%. At 2.7 million shares, the company's volume so far today is 1.1 times its current three-month average. High volume indicates a lot of investor interest while low volume indicates the opposite. Investors can use valuation ratios as tools to estimate what kind of deal a particular investment is. The price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio divides a company's P/E ratio by its growth rate of earnings-per-share. PNR's PEG ratio is 7.27. While P/E ratios are important indicators of market value, a high P/E in and of itself is not bad because it may indicate a company whose earnings are growing very rapidly, so many investors look at the PEG ratio in order to get an idea of whether or not a particular P/E ratio is justified by underlying earnings growth.

The Bottom Line On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. Paying close attention to the previous ratios will help you identify key times to adjust your strategy. Tools like valuation ratios and profit margins, however, are only as useful as the context you put them in; remember to take historical data and competitor performance into account.

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