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Tickers in this Article: IHS, NSC, CLC, CAG, YELP, CNI, OC
The market is down this morning. The Nasdaq has declined 0.3%; the S&P 500 is down 0.3%; and the Dow has fallen 0.1%. Today, more than half of all NYSE trades are conducted electronically, although floor traders are still used to set pricing and deal in high volume institutional trading.

The biggest movers traded on the NYSE so far are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
IHS (NYSE:IHS)$7.63 billion-17.1%
Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC)$23.62 billion-9.1%
CLARCOR (NYSE:CLC)$2.47 billion-9%
ConAgra (NYSE:CAG)$10.41 billion+6.5%
Yelp (NYSE:YELP)$1.52 billion+5%
Canadian National Railway (NYSE:CNI)$40.95 billion-4.4%
Owens (NYSE:OC)$3.95 billion+3.9%
Broker Summary: E-Trade Financial

After a precipitous drop of 17.1%, IHS (NYSE:IHS) is now trading at a share price of $95.52. So far today, 1.4 million shares have changed hands. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is. When estimating the value of a particular investment, valuation ratios provide a good basis for assessing the value of an individual stock. 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. The P/B ratio for IHS is 4.25, indicating that the stock is trading for more than its book value. This may be a sign that the company is overvalued. 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

Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) has fallen 9.1% and is currently trading at $66.07 per share. With 5.8 million shares changing hands so far today, the company's volume is 3.8 times its current three-month average. 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. Looking at a company's valuation ratios is a good way of getting a basic idea as to its value as an investment. Perhaps one of the most widely-used stock analysis tools is the price-to-earnings ratio, or P/E. Relative to the industry P/E ratio of 18.12, NSC's 12.4 is low. A low P/E ratio may indicate that the market expects relatively slower earnings growth. A high P/E ratio indicates a stock that is expensive, while a low P/E ratio indicates a stock that is cheap. SEE: Understanding The P/E Ratio

CLARCOR (NYSE:CLC) has decreased to $45.12 per share, a 9% fall. So far today, the company's volume is 457,216 shares. Yesterday, volume was only 307,139 shares. If a stock is trading on low volume, then there is not much interest in the stock. On the other hand, if a stock is trading on high volume, then there is a lot of interest in the stock. Investors can use valuation ratios as tools to estimate what kind of deal a particular investment is. The price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio can reveal value what price/earnings (P/E) ratios alone may not so that if a company has a high P/E ratio (an indication that its stock is overpriced) but its earnings are growing very quickly, the PEG ratio may reveal that the company is actually fairly valued, or perhaps even a bargain. CLC's PEG ratio of 1.94 is in line with the industry average. 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.

Rising 6.5%, ConAgra (NYSE:CAG) is currently trading at $27.31 per share. The company's volume is currently 10.6 million shares for the day, three times the average daily volume. Volume is an important indicator in technical analysis as it is used to measure the worth of a market move. If the markets have made a strong price move either up or down the perceived strength of that move depends on the volume for that period. The higher the volume during that price move the more significant the move. Understanding investment valuation ratios allows an investor to assess the true value of an individual stock. The dividend yield is measured by taking the annual dividends per share and dividing that number by the stock price. Dividend yield for CAG is 3.7%. Simply comparing the level of dividends that two stocks pay does not give a true reflection of which security is more attractive, so investors calculate the dividend yield in order to standardize dividend payments. SEE: Guide To Stock-Picking Strategies: Income Investing

Yelp (NYSE:YELP) has increased to a share price of $27, a 5% rise. The company's volume for the day so far is 998,060 shares. If a stock price moves on high volume, this means that the change is a significant one. 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 ratio gives users a quick measure of the amount of debt that the company has on its balance sheets compared to its assets. YELP's debt ratio of 8.6% is on the low side. In other words, the company is less sensitive to changes in business or interest rates since less of its cash flow is dedicated to paying off loan expenses. As with all financial ratios, a company's debt ratio should be compared with the industry average or similar companies.

Canadian National Railway (NYSE:CNI) is currently trading at a share price of $89.81, a 4.4% decline. The company's volume for the day so far is 587,441 shares, one times its average over the past three months. Volume is also used as a secondary indicator to help confirm what the price movement is suggesting. 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 compares the total liabilities for a company to its total shareholder equity. CNI's D/E ratio is 61%. This easy-to-calculate ratio provides a general indication of a company's equity-liability relationship and is helpful to investors looking for a quick take on a company's leverage.

Increasing 3.9%, Owens (NYSE:OC) is trading at $35.19 per share. So far today, 1.6 million shares of the company's stock have changed hands. 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 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. OC's capitalization ratio is 37.9%. 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.

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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