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Tickers in this Article: PANL, ACTG, VRA, KYAK, FIVE, ULTI, MLNX
After this morning's trading, the market is looking good. The Nasdaq is up 0.5%; the S&P 500 is trading up 0.3%; and the Dow has increased 0.1%. The recent surge in popularity of technological stocks has launched the Nasdaq Composite Index into the spotlight, making it one of the premier indexes in the world.

The biggest movers traded on the NASDAQ so far are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Universal (Nasdaq:PANL)$1.98 billion-9.1%
Acacia (Nasdaq:ACTG)$1.25 billion+6.1%
Vera Bradley (Nasdaq:VRA)$993.4 million-6%
Kayak (Nasdaq:KYAK)$1.08 billion-5%
Five Below (Nasdaq:FIVE)$1.67 billion+4.2%
Ultimate Software Group (Nasdaq:ULTI)$2.57 billion+3.1%
Mellanox (Nasdaq:MLNX)$4.75 billion+2.8%
Broker Summary: OptionsXpress Online Trading Platform

Universal (Nasdaq:PANL) is currently trading at a share price of $38.85, a 9.1% decline. The company's volume for the morning is 2.7 million shares. This is 3.1 times its average daily volume. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock 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. PANL's P/E ratio of 95.0 is above the industry average of 6.67. This could mean that the market is expecting big things over the next few months or years. To determine the P/E ratio, an investor divides the market price of the stock by the earnings-per-share (EPS) of the stock. SEE: Understanding The P/E Ratio

Rising 6.1%, Acacia (Nasdaq:ACTG) is currently trading at $26.63 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 451,420 shares. If a stock price makes a big move up or down, volume lets us know the significance of that move. 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. The price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio compares a company's P/E ratio to its earnings-per-share growth rate, which tells you whether or not you are getting a good value when purchasing a stock with a high price/earnings ratio (P/E ratio). ACTG has a PEG ratio of 0.49, which is consistent 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.

Slipping 6%, Vera Bradley (Nasdaq:VRA) is currently trading at $23.04 per share. With 801,392 shares changing hands so far today, the company's volume is 1.4 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. 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. VRA has a debt ratio of 37.6%, which is fairly low. A low debt ratio means the company has more available cash flow. However, one thing to note with this ratio: it isn't a pure measure of a company's debt (or indebtedness), as it also includes operational liabilities, such as accounts payable and taxes payable.

After a decline of 5%, Kayak (Nasdaq:KYAK) has hit a share price of $27.35. The company's volume is currently 43,342 shares. This is on pace to fall short of yesterday's volume of 354,317 shares. Volume is also used as a secondary indicator to help confirm what the price movement is suggesting. Valuation ratios allow the investor to make a quick determination as to a company's investment value. The price/book value ratio is especially important for value investors as it can provide an indication of the true value of a company's assets at a time when its business model may be failing. The P/B ratio for KYAK is 4.05, indicating that the stock is trading for more 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. P/B has its shortcomings but is still widely used as a valuation metric, more relevant for use by investors looking at capital-intensive or finance-related businesses, such as banks; book value does not carry much meaning for service-based firms with few tangible assets. SEE: Investment Valuation Ratios: Price/Book Value Ratio

After an increase of 4.2%, Five Below (Nasdaq:FIVE) has reached a current price of $32.20. The company's volume is currently 154,226 shares for the day, consistent with its current daily average. 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. Investors can use valuation ratios as tools to estimate what kind of deal a particular 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. FIVE has a high capitalization ratio of 142.5%. A high capitalization ratio is not necessarily bad since higher financial leverage can increase the return on a shareholder's investment. The capitalization ratio is one of the more meaningful debt ratios because it focuses on the relationship of debt liabilities as a component of a company's total capital base, which is the capital raised by shareholders and lenders.

Ultimate Software Group (Nasdaq:ULTI) is up 3.1% to reach a current price of $98.98 per share. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 116,072 shares. If a stock price moves on high volume, this means that the change is a significant one. 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/earnings ratio is calculated by taking a stock price and dividing it by the earnings-per-share (EPS). Compared to the industry average of 10.32, ULTI's P/E ratio of 400.1 is quite high. A company with a high P/E ratio will eventually have to live up to the high rating by substantially increasing its earnings, or the price will need to drop. A high P/E ratio indicates a stock that is expensive, while a low P/E ratio indicates a stock that is cheap. SEE: Investment Valuation Ratios: Price/Earnings Ratio

After rising 2.8%, Mellanox (Nasdaq:MLNX) is currently trading at a share price of $117.50. The company's volume is currently 362,328 shares for the day, in keeping with its current three-month average. 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. When estimating the value of a particular investment, valuation ratios provide a good basis for assessing the value of an individual stock. As with most ratios, comparisons of company price/earnings to growth ratios (PEG ratios) are most appropriate for similar companies. PEG ratio for MLNX is 3.57. Because of the adjustment for earnings growth rate, the PEG ratio is somewhat more useful than many formulas for comparing companies in different industries.

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. 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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