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Tickers in this Article: HRC, CSH, TKR, ESI, KEX, CAB, VMC
So far today, the market has been on the rise. The Nasdaq has climbed 1.1%; the S&P 500 has moved up 1.3%; and the Dow is up 1.4%. Also known as the "Big Board", the NYSE relied for many years on floor trading only, using the open outcry system.

The biggest movers traded on the NYSE so far are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:HRC)$1.96 billion-17.2%
Cash America International, Inc. (NYSE:CSH)$1.33 billion-16.5%
The Timken Company (NYSE:TKR)$4.11 billion-15.9%
ITT Educational Services, Inc. (NYSE:ESI)$1.22 billion-15.1%
Kirby Corporation (NYSE:KEX)$2.62 billion+13.9%
Cabelas Inc (NYSE:CAB)$2.76 billion+13.6%
Vulcan Materials Company (NYSE:VMC)$5.46 billion-11.2%
Broker Summary: E-Trade Financial

After a precipitous drop of 17.2%, Hill-Rom Holdings (NYSE:HRC) is now trading at a share price of $26.10. At 1.4 million shares, the company's volume so far today is 3.7 times the average daily volume. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it. 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/book value ratio is calculated by dividing the current stock price by the company's book value per share. The P/B ratio for HRC is 2.03, indicating that the stock is trading for more than its book value. 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. P/B value ratios are particularly useful to value investors, distressed or "vulture" investors, or any other investors purchasing beaten-down securities but are less useful to investors focused on growth stocks, purchasing IPOs, or investing in technology or other "asset-lite" companies. SEE: Using The Price-To-Book Ratio To Evaluate Companies

Cash America International (NYSE:CSH) is at a share price of $37.66 after a sharp decline of 16.5%. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 1.6 million shares. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is. Valuation ratios allow the investor to make a quick determination as to a company's investment value. A price/sales ratio is derived by dividing stock market price by company sales. CSH has a P/S ratio of 0.88, on the low end. Low P/S ratios are more attractive than high ratios because this indicates that an investor is paying less for each dollar of sales. It is important to compare P/S ratios for companies in the same industry, as ratios can vary quite widely for companies in different industries.

Shares of Timken (NYSE:TKR) are currently trading at $35.40, a steep decline of 15.9%. With 4.4 million shares changing hands so far today, the company's volume is 3.6 times its current three-month average. If a stock price moves on high volume, this means that the change is a significant one. Understanding investment valuation ratios allows an investor to assess the true value of an individual stock. The easy-to-calculate debt ratio is helpful to investors looking for a quick take on the leverage for a company. TKR has a debt ratio of 50.1%. As with all financial ratios, a company's debt ratio should be compared with the industry average or similar companies.

ITT Educational Services (NYSE:ESI) is currently trading at $42.80 per share, after a steep drop of 15.1%. So far today, 905,446 shares of the company's stock have changed hands. This is more trading activity than there was yesterday. If a stock price makes a big move up or down, volume lets us know the significance of that move. Valuation ratios like 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 are useful in determining how attractive a potential or existing investment is. 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. ESI has a capitalization ratio of 65.6%, which is on the high end. A company considered too highly leveraged (too much debt) may find its freedom of action restricted by its creditors and/or have its profitability hurt by high interest costs. This ratio is considered to be one of the more meaningful of the "debt" ratios - it delivers the key insight into the use of leverage by a company.

Kirby (NYSE:KEX) has soared 13.9% to reach a current price of $53.40 per share. At 942,042 shares, the company's volume so far today is 2.3 times the average daily volume. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is. Investment valuation ratios provide investors with an estimation, albeit a simplistic one, of the value of a stock. Price/earnings ratios (P/E ratios) provide a measure of the relative value of a stock. KEX's P/E ratio is 13.0. A high P/E ratio indicates a stock that is expensive, while a low P/E ratio indicates a stock that is cheap. SEE: Profit With The Power Of Price-To-Earnings

Cabelas (NYSE:CAB) is trading at $44.55 per share, a significant rise of 13.6%. The company is currently trading a volume of 1.1 million shares. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. It is important for an investor to estimate the value of any potential or existing investment; valuation ratios make this easier. If the price/book value ratio of a stock is high, it may indicate that the stock is expensive, while a lower ratio may indicate that the stock is a bargain. CAB has a P/B ratio of 2.54 which shows that its share price is higher than its book value. This high share price relative to asset value is likely to indicate that the company has been earning a very high return on its assets. 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: Investment Valuation Ratios: Price/Book Value Ratio

Vulcan Materials (NYSE:VMC) is at a share price of $37.45 after a sharp decline of 11.2%. The company's volume for the day so far is 911,546 shares, 1.4 times the average volume over the last three months. High volume indicates a lot of investor interest while low volume indicates the opposite. Looking at a company's valuation ratios is a good way of getting a basic idea as to its value as an investment. The price/sales ratio is used for spotting recovery situations or for double-checking that a company's growth has not become overvalued. VMC has a high P/S ratio of 2.11. This could be a good sign if the share price increases. A limitation of the P/S ratio is that the price component measures only stock market captialization, while sales are a function of the entire capital structure, potentially leading to wide differences between levered and unlevered companies.

The Bottom Line On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. It is important to weigh current activity against historical performance when making any investment decisions. 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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