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Tickers in this Article: HAIN, DLLR, ADTN, VRA, PDCO, BRLI, CRUS
The market has been slipping so far today: the Nasdaq has decreased 0.2%; the S&P 500 has slipped 0.4%; and the Dow is trading down 0.6%. The Nasdaq Composite Index represents all the stocks that trade on the Nasdaq stock market.

The biggest movers traded on the NASDAQ so far are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Hain Celestial Group (Nasdaq:HAIN)$2.55 billion+18.3%
DFC (Nasdaq:DLLR)$875.8 million-8.7%
ADTRAN (Nasdaq:ADTN)$1.45 billion-8%
Vera Bradley (Nasdaq:VRA)$1.08 billion-5.5%
Patterson Companies (Nasdaq:PDCO)$3.91 billion-5.2%
Bio-Reference Laboratories (Nasdaq:BRLI)$818.3 million-4.7%
Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq:CRUS)$2.54 billion+4.1%
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Hain Celestial Group (Nasdaq:HAIN) is currently at $67.33 per share after a dramatic increase of 18.3%. The company's volume is currently 2.9 million shares for the day, 5.2 times its current three-month average. If a stock price makes a big move up or down, volume lets us know the significance of that move. Investment valuation ratios provide investors with an estimation, albeit a simplistic one, of the value of a stock. The assumption with high price/earnings stocks (generally of the growth variety) is that investors are willing to buy at a high price because they believe that the stock has significant growth potential, and the price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio helps investors determine the degree of reliability of that growth assumption. PEG ratio for HAIN is consistent with the industry average at 2.54. 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 8.7%, DFC (Nasdaq:DLLR) is currently trading at $18.18 per share. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 765,921 shares. 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. Looking at a company's valuation ratios is a good way of getting a basic idea as to its value as an investment. In a nutshell, the price/sales ratio shows how much Wall Street values every dollar of the company's sales. DLLR's P/S ratio of 0.85 is fairly low. Low P/S ratios can indicate unrecognized value potential - so long as other criteria like high profit margins, low debt levels and growth prospects are in place. A limitation of the P/S ratio is that the price component measures only stock market captialization, while sales are a function of the entire capital structure, potentially leading to wide differences between levered and unlevered companies.

ADTRAN (Nasdaq:ADTN) has fallen 8% and is currently trading at $21.05 per share. At 1.4 million shares, the company's volume so far today is two times its current daily average. 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 debt ratio gives users a quick measure of the amount of debt that the company has on its balance sheets compared to its assets. ADTN's debt ratio of 21.7% is on the low side. 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.

Vera Bradley (Nasdaq:VRA) has decreased to $25.11 per share, a 5.5% fall. So far today, 453,357 shares of the company's stock have changed hands. Yesterday's volume was only 247,585 shares. If a stock price moves on high volume, this means that the change is a significant one. 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 debt-equity (D/E) ratio compares the total liabilities for a company to its total shareholder equity. VRA has a debt-equity ratio of 5%, which is on the low side. This shows that the company's assets are financed primarily through equity. The D/E ratio is not a pure measurement of a company's debt because it includes operational liabilities in total liabilities.

Falling 5.2%, Patterson Companies (Nasdaq:PDCO) is currently at a share price of $34.06. The company's volume for the day so far is 1.1 million shares, 2.5 times its average over the past three months. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is. 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. PDCO's capitalization ratio is 34.5%. Prudent use of leverage (debt) increases the financial resources available to a company for growth and expansion.

Currently trading at $28.17 per share, Bio-Reference Laboratories (Nasdaq:BRLI) has fallen 4.7%. So far today, the company's volume is 92,237 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. Investment valuation ratios can be very useful in determining the value of a stock, but it is very important to keep in mind that while some financial ratios have general rules (or a broad application), in most instances it is a prudent practice to look at a company's historical performance and use peer company/industry comparisons to put any given company's ratio in perspective. The price/book value ratio provides a way of evaluating whether a stock is relatively cheap or expensive. The P/B ratio for BRLI is 3.87, 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

After rising 4.1%, Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq:CRUS) is currently trading at a share price of $40.98. The company's volume is currently 1.8 million shares for the day, 0.9 times the average daily volume. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is. 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. One of the most important estimates of stock market valuation is the price/earnings ratio (P/E ratio). CRUS' P/E ratio of 30.0 is above the industry average of 11.72. Generally speaking, the higher the P/E ratio, the higher the market expectations for a company's future performance. 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: The P/E Ratio: A Good Market-Timing Indicator

The Bottom Line On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. Paying close attention to the previous ratios will help you identify key times to adjust your strategy. 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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