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Tickers in this Article: GGC, NVR, SNA, CNS, VFC, LH, ASR
After this morning's trading, the market is looking good. The Nasdaq has risen 1.1%; the S&P 500 has moved up 0.3%; and the Dow is trading up 0.3%. Formerly run as a private organization, the NYSE became a public entity in 2005 following the acquisition of electronic trading exchange Archipelago.

The biggest movers traded on the NYSE so far are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Georgia Gulf Corporation (NYSE:GGC)$987.8 million+17.1%
NVR, Inc. (NYSE:NVR)$4.39 billion-9.6%
Snap-on Incorporated (NYSE:SNA)$3.56 billion+8.6%
Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS)$1.6 billion-7.1%
VF (NYSE:VFC)$15.54 billion+6.7%
LabCorp (NYSE:LH)$9.06 billion-6.5%
Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (ADR) (NYSE:ASR)$2.38 billion+5.5%
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Georgia (NYSE:GGC) has soared 17.1% to reach a current price of $33.77 per share. At 3.7 million shares, the company's volume so far today is which is more trading activity than there was yesterday. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is. There are many tools investors can use to evaluate a stock, including margins. Margins, quite simply, are earnings expressed as a ratio, or a percentage of sales, and this allows investors to compare the profitability of different companies, while net earnings, which are presented as an absolute number, cannot. GGC has a low gross profit margin of 13%. Since gross profit margins tend to stay stable, sudden changes may indicate financial fraud, accounting irregularities or problems in the business. Operating margin for GGC is 7.9% and net margin is 2.5%, both low relative to its gross margin.

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 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. The D/E ratio for GGC is 121%. Companies with high D/E ratios may have difficulty attracting additional investment capital. The D/E ratio is not a pure measurement of a company's debt because it includes operational liabilities in total liabilities.

Currently trading at $783.30 per share, NVR (NYSE:NVR) has fallen 9.6%. So far today, the company's volume is 96,163 shares. Volume is also used as a secondary indicator to help confirm what the price movement is suggesting. Margin analysis tells us how effectively management can wring profits from sales and how much room a company has to withstand a downturn, fend off competition and make mistakes. NVR has a low gross profit margin of 18.5%. This may mean that the company is struggling to control production costs, or that a low amount of earnings is being generated from revenues. Relative to its gross profit margin, NVR's operating profit margin of 5.2% and net profit margin of 4.9% are low.

A company's investment value can be estimated using valuation ratios such as the price to earnings (P/E) ratio, the price to earnings growth (PEG) ratio, the price to sales (P/S) ratio, the price to book (P/B) ratio, and the dividend yield. A simple P/E ratio can reveal the stock's real market value and show how the valuation compares to its industry group or a benchmark like the S&P 500 Index. The P/E ratio for NVR is 35.2, above the industry average of 30.28. Usually, if a stock has a high P/E ratio, it indicates that the market expects the company to grow earnings quickly in the future. From the investor's perspective, a stock with a lower ratio is relatively cheaper than a stock with a higher ratio. SEE: Understanding The P/E Ratio

Snap-on (NYSE:SNA) is at $66.60 per share after an increase of 8.6%. The company's volume is currently 581,022 shares for the day, 2.1 times the current three-month average. Volume is an important indicator because it indicates how significant a price shift is. Profit-margin ratios measure how much money a company squeezes from its total revenue or total sales. Investors can look at a company's gross profit margin, operating profit margin and net margin to understand a company's profitability. SNA's gross profit margin is 49.4%. The operating margin ratio can vary widely across industries, so investors should focus on comparing companies from similar industries or with similar business models. SNA's operating profit margin is 16.5%. Net profit margin is calculated by dividing net income by sales. Net profit margin for the company is 10.1%.

Valuation ratios include the price to earnings (P/E) ratio, the price to earnings growth (PEG) ratio, the price to sales (P/S) ratio, the price to book (P/B) ratio, and the dividend yield. One of the favorite tools of many value investors is analyzing price/book value ratios, as it provides a measure of the underlying value of a company's assets as compared to the valuation of its equity. SNA's stock is trading for more than its book value with a P/B ratio of 2.41. It is important to take the company's debt into account when using the P/B ratio as debt can boost a company's liabilities to the point where they wipe out much of the book value of its hard assets, creating artificially high P/B values. Users need to be careful when applying this ratio though, as it is more useful for industrial companies that have a lot of tangible assets than it is for technology or consumer product companies that may not have much in the way of hard assets. SEE: Using The Price-To-Book Ratio To Evaluate Companies

Slipping 7.1%, Cohen & Steers (NYSE:CNS) is currently trading at $33.92 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 71,207 shares. This is 0.8 times the average daily volume. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. Investment valuation ratios can be very useful in estimating whether a stock price is too high, reasonable or a bargain investment opportunity. The price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio divides a company's P/E ratio by its growth rate of earnings-per-share. PEG ratio for CNS is 3.1. Because of the adjustment for earnings growth rate, the PEG ratio is somewhat more useful than many formulas for comparing companies in different industries.

Rising 6.7%, VF (NYSE:VFC) is currently trading at $151.34 per share. The company's volume is currently 1.2 million shares for the day, more than yesterday's 972,854 shares. 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. Margin ratios highlight companies that are worth further examination. The gross profit margin for VFC is 47.5%. A company's operating margin is calculated by dividing operating income by revenues. Operating profit margin for VFC is 12.3%. Net profit margin compares net income with sales. Net margin is 9%.

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 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. VFC has a high P/S ratio of 1.62. In young companies, a high P/S ratio is a sign of sales growth that is expected to turn into earnings and cash flow. It is important to keep in mind when looking at the P/S ratio that just because a company is generating revenues, this does not mean that the company is profitable, and in the long run, profits drive stock prices.

LabCorp (NYSE:LH) has fallen 6.5% and is currently trading at $87.56 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 1.4 million shares. Volume indicates the level of interest that investors have in a company at its current price. Profit-margin ratios help us to keep score, as measured over time, of management's ability to generate profits and manage costs and expenses. There are three key profit-margin ratios: gross profit margin, operating profit margin and net profit margin. LH has a gross profit margin of 39.3%. As with other margin ratios, the operating margin is a percentage, which allows for more standardized comparison across time and among different companies of different sizes. LH has an operating profit margin of 20.2%, which is low relative to its gross profit margin. Ideally, a company's profit margin should be stable or rising; declining profit margin should be cause for concern or further investigation. The company's net profit margin is 9.9%.

Valuation ratios allow the investor to make a quick determination as to a company's investment value. The debt ratio shows the proportion of assets that a company is financing through debt. The debt ratio for LH is 57.6%. As with all financial ratios, a company's debt ratio should be compared with the industry average or similar companies.

Increasing 5.5%, Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (NYSE:ASR) is trading at $83.84 per share. At 72,695 shares, the company's volume so far today is 1.2 times its current three-month average. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest. Profit-margin ratios can give investors deeper insight into management efficiency than earnings alone can provide. Gross profit margin, operating profit margin and net margin are commonly used margins. The gross profit margin for ASR is 64.8%. Operating margin provides a measure of a company's ability to pay its fixed costs such as interest on debt, particular if its business were to decline in the future. With an operating profit margin of 56.7%, ASR has a low one relative to its gross profit margin. While ratios such as price/earnings (P/E) or price/book value look at the relative attractiveness of a stock, the net profit margin ratio focuses on company performance rather that stock market valuation. Net profit margin for the company is 35.8%.

Investment valuation ratios provide investors with an estimation, albeit a simplistic one, of the value of a stock. The dividend yield is measured by taking the annual dividends per share and dividing that number by the stock price. Dividend yield for ASR is 3.3%. 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

The Bottom Line On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. Daily stock performance should be weighed against historical performance and put in context of the market overall. Keep in mind that all these ratios should be compared against historical numbers and industry information in order to get a more complete picture.

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