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Tickers in this Article: ESLT, ILMN, LQDT, Z, FEIC, GTLS, EXPO
Currently, the Nasdaq has increased 0.4%, the S&P 500 is up 0.1% and the Dow is trading down 0.2%. 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
Elbit Systems Ltd (Nasdaq:ESLT)$1.48 billion+6.2%
Illumina (Nasdaq:ILMN)$6.03 billion+4.8%
Liquidity Services (Nasdaq:LQDT)$1.54 billion-4.7%
Zillow (Nasdaq:Z)$1.36 billion-4.5%
FEI (Nasdaq:FEIC)$2.01 billion-3.8%
Chart Industries (Nasdaq:GTLS)$2.22 billion-3.3%
Exponent (Nasdaq:EXPO)$752.6 million-3.1%
Forex Broker Summary: Forex Capital Markets (FXCM)

Elbit Systems Ltd (Nasdaq:ESLT) has risen 6.2% and is currently trading at $36.53 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 8,980 shares. This is one times the current daily 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. Investors can make use of valuation ratios to estimate whether a stock is fairly valued. Perhaps one of the most widely-used stock analysis tools is the price-to-earnings ratio, or P/E. ESLT has a P/E ratio of 15.5, in line with the industry average. A high P/E ratio indicates a stock that is expensive, while a low P/E ratio indicates a stock that is cheap. SEE: Can Investors Trust the P/E Ratio?

Illumina (Nasdaq:ILMN) has increased to a share price of $51.39, a 4.8% rise. The company's volume is currently 5.9 million shares for the day, 3.6 times the average volume over the last three months. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is. 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. As with most ratios, comparisons of company price/earnings to growth ratios (PEG ratios) are most appropriate for similar companies. ILMN has a PEG ratio of 4.54. Because of the adjustment for earnings growth rate, the PEG ratio is somewhat more useful than many formulas for comparing companies in different industries.

Liquidity Services (Nasdaq:LQDT) is down 4.7% to reach $47.21 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 394,566 shares. 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. 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. 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. LQDT's stock is trading for more than its book value with a P/B ratio of 6.19. 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. A weakness of the P/B value ratio is that while the price component is easily determined by looking at the stock quote, the book value component is more difficult to estimate and more open to individual interpretation and analysis. SEE: How Buybacks Warps The Price-To-Book Ratio

Falling 4.5%, Zillow (Nasdaq:Z) is currently at a share price of $39. The company's volume is currently 3.2 million shares for the day, above yesterday's volume of 953,823 shares. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest. Valuation ratios allow the investor to make a quick determination as to a company's investment value. The price/sales ratio measures a company's stock market price by its revenues. Z has a high P/S ratio of 12.58. This could be a good sign if the share price increases. All things being equal, a low P/S ratio is good news for investors, while a very high one can be a warning sign.

At $50.85, FEI (Nasdaq:FEIC) has slipped 3.8%. The company's volume for the day so far is 423,790 shares. This is 1.2 times its average daily volume. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. Understanding investment valuation ratios allows an investor to assess the true value of an individual stock. The debt ratio is calculated by dividing total liabilities by total assets. FEIC has a low debt ratio of 34.9%. A low debt ratio means the company has more available cash flow. As with all financial ratios, a company's debt ratio should be compared with the industry average or similar companies.

After a decline of 3.3%, Chart Industries (Nasdaq:GTLS) has hit a share price of $71.65. So far today, the company's volume is 323,516 shares, 0.8 times its average over the past three months. High volume indicates a lot of investor interest while low volume indicates the opposite. Investment valuation ratios can be very useful in estimating whether a stock price is too high, reasonable or a bargain investment opportunity. The capitalization ratio is calculated by dividing long-term debt by the sum of long-term debt and shareholders' equity. The capitalizion ratio of 27.7% is on the low end. A low capitalization ratio can signify a failure to leverage equity into investment, missing valuable opportunities for growth and expansion. Prudent use of leverage (debt) increases the financial resources available to a company for growth and expansion.

Exponent (Nasdaq:EXPO) is trading at $55.31 per share, down 3.1%. The company is currently trading a volume of 43,183 shares. Volume is an important indicator because it indicates how significant a price 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. EXPO has a P/E ratio of 23.4, high compared to the industry average of 20.29. 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. High P/E stocks could be "growth" stocks, while low PE stocks may be "value" stocks. SEE: Understanding The P/E Ratio

The Bottom Line No matter the economic climate, Wall Street will always have stocks that make major moves each week. 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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