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Tickers in this Article: GNTX, WBMD, HSTM, VLTR, BRKR, BIDU, STRA
This morning has been rocky for the market. The Nasdaq has fallen 0.2%; the S&P 500 has declined 0.5%; and the Dow is trading down 0.6%. 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
Gentex Corporation (Nasdaq:GNTX)$3.05 billion-23.9%
WebMD Health Corp. (Nasdaq:WBMD)$899.8 million-21.9%
HealthStream, Inc. (Nasdaq:HSTM)$607.5 million+14.8%
Volterra Semiconductor Corporation (Nasdaq:VLTR)$639.7 million-13.9%
Bruker Corporation (Nasdaq:BRKR)$2.22 billion-12.1%
Baidu (Nasdaq:BIDU)$37.38 billion+11%
Strayer Education Inc (Nasdaq:STRA)$1.21 billion-6.5%
Beginner's Guide To

After a precipitous drop of 23.9%, Gentex (Nasdaq:GNTX) is now trading at a share price of $16.09. The company's volume is currently 9.5 million shares for the day, 9.7 times the average volume over the last three months. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. 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. For investors primarily interested in the income a stock can generate, the dividend yield is an important determinant of how attractive a stock is. GNTX's dividend yield is 2.5%. 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: Due Diligence On Dividends

WebMD (Nasdaq:WBMD) is at a share price of $14 after a sharp decline of 21.9%. The company's volume for the morning is 3.2 million shares. This is 7.2 times its 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. Understanding investment valuation ratios allows an investor to assess the true value of an individual stock. A price/sales ratio is derived by dividing stock market price by company sales. The P/S ratio for WBMD is 2.68, which is relatively high. 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 compare P/S ratios for companies in the same industry, as ratios can vary quite widely for companies in different industries.

After a big jump of 14.8%, HealthStream (Nasdaq:HSTM) is trading at $26.71 per share. This morning, 311,877 shares have been traded, more than yesterday's 190,761 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. Investors can make use of valuation ratios to estimate whether a stock is fairly valued. The debt ratio measures the leverage of a company, and a company's leverage is a good way to assess risk. HSTM's debt ratio of 20.2% 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.

Shares of Volterra (Nasdaq:VLTR) are currently trading at $21.72, a steep decline of 13.9%. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 1.3 million shares. If a stock price moves on high volume, this means that the change is a significant one. A company's value as an investment is more easily 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/book value ratio is one of the more common methods of determining whether a stock is fairly valued. VLTR has a P/B ratio of 3.18 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. To put things in perspective, should be made among companies in the same industry rather than across industries. SEE: Investment Valuation Ratios: Price/Book Value Ratio

Bruker (Nasdaq:BRKR) is currently trading at $11.75 per share, after a steep drop of 12.1%. The company's volume for the day so far is 4.1 million shares, 9.9 times its current three-month average. High volume indicates a lot of investor interest while low volume indicates the opposite. Valuation ratios allow the investor to make a quick determination as to a company's investment value. One of the most important estimates of stock market valuation is the price/earnings ratio (P/E ratio). The P/E ratio for BRKR is 24.1, above the industry average of 18.19. 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: The P/E Ratio: A Good Market-Timing Indicator

Baidu (Nasdaq:BIDU) rose a significant 11% to reach $118.92 per share. This morning, the company's volume is 9.1 million shares. This is 1.8 times the average daily volume. 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. 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. The price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio is calculated by dividing the price/earnings ratio by growth in earnings-per-share; the lower the PEG ratio, the more reasonably valued the security. BIDU's PEG ratio is 1.15. 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.

Strayer Education (Nasdaq:STRA) has decreased to $95 per share, a 6.5% fall. The company's volume is currently 218,717 shares for the day, above yesterday's volume of 62,800 shares. Volume is an important indicator because it indicates how significant a price shift is. Looking at a company's valuation ratios is a good way of getting a basic idea as to its value as an investment. The dividend yield is measured by taking the annual dividends per share and dividing that number by the stock price. STRA has a dividend yield of 3.9%. A stock's dividend yield depends on the nature of a company's business, its posture in the marketplace (value or growth oriented), its earnings and cash flow, and its dividend policy. SEE: Investment Valuation Ratios: Dividend Yield

The Bottom Line The nature of the market is such that stocks will have good days and bad days. It is important to weigh current activity against historical performance when making any investment decisions. However, these fundamental metrics must be analyzed with historic data, industry information in addition to firm specific financial statements.

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