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Tickers in this Article: FMER, EQIX, CRUS, SHLD, MDSO, MNST, ORLY
The market is on the rise this morning, with the Nasdaq climbing 0.3%, the S&P 500 up 0.1% and the Dow rising 0.2%. Most stocks on the Nasdaq Composite Index are technology and Internet-related, but there are financial, consumer, bio-tech and industrial companies as well.

The biggest movers traded on the NASDAQ so far are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Firstmerit (Nasdaq:FMER)$1.88 billion-10.8%
Equinix (Nasdaq:EQIX)$8.99 billion+7.3%
Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq:CRUS)$2.79 billion-4%
Sears (Nasdaq:SHLD)$6.48 billion-3.9%
Medidata Solutions (Nasdaq:MDSO)$965.4 million+3.6%
Monster (Nasdaq:MNST)$8.96 billion+3.4%
O\'Reilly Automotive, Inc (Nasdaq:ORLY)$10.18 billion-3.2%
Broker Summary: Charles Schwab Online Brokerage

After a precipitous drop of 10.8%, Firstmerit (Nasdaq:FMER) is now trading at a share price of $15.31. At 4.7 million shares, the company's volume so far today is which is more trading activity than there was yesterday. Volume indicates the level of interest that investors have in a company at its current price. Valuation ratios allow the investor to make a quick determination as to a company's investment value. 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. The capitalizion ratio of 10% 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.

After an increase of 7.3%, Equinix (Nasdaq:EQIX) has reached a current price of $200.08. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 4.1 million shares. This is 4.6 times the average volume over the last three months. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. 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 price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio divides a company's P/E ratio by its growth rate of earnings-per-share. EQIX's PEG ratio is 3.1. Because of the adjustment for earnings growth rate, the PEG ratio is somewhat more useful than many formulas for comparing companies in different industries.

Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq:CRUS) has fallen 4% and is currently trading at $41.38 per share. So far today, 2.5 million shares 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. 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. 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. CRUS' P/B ratio of 5.59 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. All else being equal, a stock with a low P/B value ratio is more attractive than a stock with a high ratio. SEE: How Buybacks Warps The Price-To-Book Ratio

After a decline of 3.9%, Sears (Nasdaq:SHLD) has hit a share price of $58.51. The company's volume is currently 751,053 shares for the day, 0.3 times its current daily average. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest. 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. While measuring a price/earnings ratio (P/E ratio) is a popular valuation technique, the measure cannot be calculated for companies without earnings, so some investors analyze the price/sales ratio. SHLD has a P/S ratio of 0.13, on the low end. Highly levered companies are likely to have lower P/S ratios because the price aspect of this ratio only measures stock market valuation while sales is a function of both stock market and bond market capitalization. All things being equal, a low P/S ratio is good news for investors, while a very high one can be a warning sign.

Medidata Solutions (Nasdaq:MDSO) is up 3.6% to reach a current price of $38.96 per share. The company is trading at a volume of 42,957 shares. This is on pace to reach yesterday's trading volume of 83,020 shares. 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. The easy-to-calculate debt ratio is helpful to investors looking for a quick take on the leverage for a company. The debt ratio for MDSO is a low 43%. This indicates that the company engages in conservative financing with opportunities to borrow in the future at no significant risk. 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.

Rising 3.4%, Monster (Nasdaq:MNST) is currently trading at $52.50 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 1.9 million shares, 0.8 times its current three-month 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. 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/earnings ratio is calculated by taking a stock price and dividing it by the earnings-per-share (EPS). MNST has a P/E ratio of 28.4, high compared to the industry average of 22.05. Generally speaking, the higher the P/E ratio, the higher the market expectations for a company's future performance. 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

Falling 3.2%, O'Reilly Automotive, Inc (Nasdaq:ORLY) is currently at a share price of $82.87. The company's volume for the day so far is 1.7 million shares. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it. 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. A company's capitalization (not to be confused with its market capitalization) is the term used to describe the makeup of a company's permanent or long-term capital, which consists of both long-term debt and shareholders' equity. ORLY has a fairly low capitalization ratio of 23.4%. Low leverage is a significant balance sheet strength, a sign of a less risky investment. A low level of debt and a healthy proportion of equity in a company's capital structure is an indication of financial fitness.

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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