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Tickers in this Article: R, PRLB, IHS, LNKD, WXS, CSL, CRM
On a good day for the market, the Nasdaq has climbed 0.5%, the S&P 500 has moved up 0.3% and the Dow has climbed 0.5%. The NYSE is a stock exchange based in New York City, considered the largest equities-based exchange in the world based on total market capitalization of its listed securities.

The biggest movers traded on the NYSE so far are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Ryder System, Inc. (NYSE:R)$2.09 billion-13.2%
Proto Labs Inc (NYSE:PRLB)$848.8 million-4.4%
IHS Inc. (NYSE:IHS)$6.7 billion+3.8%
Linkedin Corporation (NYSE:LNKD)$10.56 billion+3.4%
Wright Express Corp (NYSE:WXS)$2.32 billion-3.3%
Carlisle Companies, Inc. (NYSE:CSL)$3.15 billion-3.1%
Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM)$18.32 billion+2.3%
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Taking a 13.2% hit, Ryder System (NYSE:R) is currently trading at $35.39 per share. The company's volume is currently 2.3 million shares for the day, 4.4 times its current three-month average. 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. Profit-margin ratios measure how much money a company squeezes from its total revenue or total sales. Investors can look at a company's gross profit margin, operating profit margin and net margin to understand a company's profitability. The gross profit margin for R is 32.9%. Operating margin provides a measure of a company's ability to pay its fixed costs such as interest on debt, particular if its business were to decline in the future. R's operating profit margin is 3.1%. Net profit margin is calculated by dividing net income by sales; the higher the net profit margin, the better. The company's net profit margin is 2.9%.

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 P/E ratio has been used for ages by analysts and still remains one of the most relevant pieces of stock valuation. The P/E ratio for R is 12.2, above the industry average of 9.38. This could mean that the market is expecting big things over the next few months or years. A high or low P/E ratio is not good or bad in and of itself, but a company trading with a high P/E ratio must continue to post strong financial performance or its stock price is likely to fall. SEE: The P/E Ratio: A Good Market-Timing Indicator

Proto Labs (NYSE:PRLB) has decreased to $33.94 per share, a 4.4% fall. This morning, the company's volume is 191,785 shares. This is 1.6 times its average daily volume. Volume indicates the level of interest that investors have in a company at its current price. 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 debt ratio is calculated by dividing total liabilities by total assets. The debt ratio for PRLB is a low 13.4%. 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. 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.

IHS (NYSE:IHS) is at $105.69 per share after an increase of 3.8%. So far today, 1.8 million shares have changed hands, more than yesterday's 1.3 million shares. High volume indicates a lot of investor interest while low volume indicates the opposite. Margin ratios highlight companies that are worth further examination. IHS has a gross profit margin of 58.2%. The operating margin ratio is calculated by dividing operating income by sales and provides a measure of what percentage of a company's revenues is available to pay its fixed costs. IHS has an operating profit margin of 15.6%. Net profit margin is calculated by dividing net income by sales. Net profit margin for the company is 9.3%.

Investment valuation ratios provide investors with an estimation, albeit a simplistic one, of the value of a stock. The debt-equity (D/E) ratio is a leverage ratio. IHS has a D/E ratio of 57%. This easy-to-calculate ratio provides a general indication of a company's equity-liability relationship and is helpful to investors looking for a quick take on a company's leverage.

After rising 3.4%, Linkedin (NYSE:LNKD) is currently trading at a share price of $105.66. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 877,197 shares. Volume is an important indicator because it indicates how significant a price shift is. Profit-margin ratios can give investors deeper insight into management efficiency than earnings alone can provide. Gross profit margin, operating profit margin and net margin are commonly used margins. LNKD has a gross profit margin of 85.4%, which is on the high end. This means that the company will have a lot of money left over to spend on other business operations, such as research and development or marketing. Operating margin for LNKD is 5.6% and net margin is 2.4%, both high relative to its gross margin.

Looking at a company's valuation ratios is a good way of getting a basic idea as to its value as an investment. The price/book value ratio provides a way of evaluating whether a stock is relatively cheap or expensive. LNKD's P/B ratio of 16.64 shows that its share price is higher than its book value. It is important to take the company's debt into account when using the P/B ratio as debt can boost a company's liabilities to the point where they wipe out much of the book value of its hard assets, creating artificially high P/B values. P/B value comparisons should be made among companies in the same industry rather than across industries. SEE: Using The Price-To-Book Ratio To Evaluate Companies

Slipping 3.3%, Wright (NYSE:WXS) is currently trading at $57.79 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 398,564 share, 1.1 times its average over the past three months. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest. Profit-margin ratios help us to keep score, as measured over time, of management's ability to generate profits and manage costs and expenses. There are three key profit-margin ratios: gross profit margin, operating profit margin and net profit margin. WXS has a relatively high gross profit margin of 84.1%. Since gross profit margins tend to stay stable, sudden changes may indicate financial fraud, accounting irregularities or problems in the business. A high net profit margin indicates a highly profitable company, and a low profit margin indicates the opposite. Net margin is 25.3%, which is high relative to its gross profit margin. A company with a high profit margin has a greater capability to maintain strong earnings during a recession than does a company with a low profit margin, providing investors with a greater margin of safety. The operating margin ratio can also be useful for tracking an individual company's performance across time, where an increasing ratio is good and a declining ratio may provide cause for concern that a company's business model is weakening. Operating profit margin for WXS is 41.4%.

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. WXS is in line with the industry average with a P/E ratio of 16.8. 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

At $49.14, Carlisle Companies (NYSE:CSL) has slipped 3.1%. So far today, the company's volume is 195,900 shares. This is 0.6 times the average daily volume. 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. Calculating the profit margin is a great way to gain insight into aspects of how well a company generates and retains money. Instead of measuring how much managers earn from assets, equity or invested capital, profit-margin ratios measure how far a company stretches its total revenue or total sales. CSL has a low gross profit margin of 24.4%. Since gross profit margins tend to stay stable, sudden changes may indicate financial fraud, accounting irregularities or problems in the business. CSL has an operating profit margin of 10.8% and a net profit margin of 6%, both low compared to its gross profit margin.

When estimating the value of a particular investment, valuation ratios provide a good basis for assessing the value of an individual stock. For investors primarily interested in the income a stock can generate, the dividend yield is an important determinant of how attractive a stock is. CSL has a low dividend yield of 1.4%. If you are an income investor, this stock may not be attractive to you. 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: Dividend Yield For The Downturn

Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) has increased to a share price of $135.81, a 2.3% rise. This morning, 765,020 shares have been traded, below yesterday's volume of 2.2 million shares. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is. Profit-margin ratios can give investors deeper insight into management efficiency than earnings alone can provide. Gross profit margin, operating profit margin and net margin are commonly used margins. CRM's gross profit margin of 90.7% is on the high side. A high gross profit margin generally means that the company can make a reasonable profit on sales, provided that overhead costs do not increase. CRM's operating and net profit margins are both negative. This is because the company reported a net loss and net operating loss in the most recent quarter.

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. 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. CRM's P/S ratio of 8.68 is on the high side. 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 keep in mind when looking at the P/S ratio that just because a company is generating revenues, this does not mean that the company is profitable, and in the long run, profits drive stock prices.

The Bottom Line No matter the economic climate, Wall Street will always have stocks that make major moves each week. Daily stock performance should be weighed against historical performance and put in context of the market overall. However, these fundamental metrics must be analyzed with historic data, industry information in addition to firm specific financial statements.

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