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Tickers in this Article: CATO, KSS, SHG, VMI, PXD, TROX, VFC
Currently, the Nasdaq is up 0.1%, the S&P 500 is down 0.5% and the Dow has slipped 0.3%. Formerly run as a private organization, the NYSE became a public entity in 2005 following the acquisition of electronic trading exchange Archipelago.

The biggest movers traded on the NYSE so far are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Cato Corp (NYSE:CATO)$928.4 million-10.5%
Kohl\'s (NYSE:KSS)$10.61 billion+6.3%
Shinhan Financial Group Co., Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:SHG)$17.27 billion-4.7%
Valmont Industries, Inc. (NYSE:VMI)$3.33 billion+3.4%
Pioneer Natural Res (NYSE:PXD)$11.2 billion-3.3%
VF (NYSE:VFC)$14.39 billion+2.7%
Forex Broker Summary: Forex Capital Markets (FXCM)

After a precipitous drop of 10.5%, Cato (NYSE:CATO) is now trading at a share price of $28.39. The company is currently trading a volume of 466,056 shares. If a stock price makes a big move up or down, volume lets us know the significance of that move. 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. The gross profit margin for CATO is 38.2%. Investors trying to assess a company's ability to continue to pay its fixed expenses even if its business declines may want to evaluate the operating margin ratio. Relative to its gross profit margin, CATO's operating margin of 18.6% is on the low side. Net profit margin is calculated by dividing net income by sales; the higher the net profit margin, the better. The company has a net profit margin of 7.1%.

Investment valuation ratios provide investors with an estimation, albeit a simplistic one, of the value of a stock. The price/book value ratio, often expressed simply as "price-to-book", provides investors a way to compare the market value, or what they are paying for each share, to a conservative measure of the value of the firm. The P/B ratio for CATO is 2.12, 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: How Buybacks Warps The Price-To-Book Ratio

Kohl's (NYSE:KSS) is currently trading at $47.03 per share, a 6.3% increase. The company's volume is currently 7.7 million shares for the day, whereas yesterday, volume was only 2.5 million shares. If a stock price makes a big move up or down, volume lets us know the significance of that move. Margin analysis tells us how effectively management can wring profits from sales and how much room a company has to withstand a downturn, fend off competition and make mistakes. KSS has a gross profit margin of 37.9%. 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. KSS' operating profit margin is 7.6%. Net profit margin compares net income with sales. Net profit margin for the company is 5.9%.

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. Dividend yield measures the income that a stock will generate for an investor. KSS has a dividend yield of 2.9%. It is important to remember that dividends are only one component of a stock's return and capital appreciation (or decline) must also be considered when evaluating a security. SEE: Due Diligence On Dividends

After a decline of 4.7%, Shinhan Financial Group Co., Ltd (NYSE:SHG) has hit a share price of $69.45. The company is currently trading a volume of 24,190 shares. This is 0.8 times the current three-month average. 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. 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/sales ratio is used for spotting recovery situations or for double-checking that a company's growth has not become overvalued. The P/S ratio for SHG is a high 1.18. This could be a good sign if the share price increases. 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.

Increasing 3.4%, Valmont Industries (NYSE:VMI) is trading at $129.85 per share. At 282,001 shares, the company's volume so far today is 1.7 times the average daily volume. 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. VMI's gross profit margin is 25.5%. VMI's operating margin of 11.5% and net margin of 9.1% are low relative to its gross margin.

It is important for an investor to estimate the value of any potential or existing investment; valuation ratios make this easier. The debt ratio shows the proportion of assets that a company is financing through debt. VMI has a low debt ratio of 46.2%. 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.

Pioneer Natural Res (NYSE:PXD) is currently trading at a share price of $88.04, a 3.3% decline. The company's volume for the day so far is 1.6 million shares. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is. 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. PXD has a gross profit margin of 74.3%. As with other margin ratios, the operating margin is a percentage, which allows for more standardized comparison across time and among different companies of different sizes. Operating profit margin for PXD is 37.2%. Net profit margins are those generated from all phases of a business, including taxes. The company's net profit margin is 30.2%.

Investors can use valuation ratios as tools to estimate what kind of deal a particular 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. PXD has a capitalization ratio of 31%. The capitalization ratio is one of the more meaningful debt ratios because it focuses on the relationship of debt liabilities as a component of a company's total capital base, which is the capital raised by shareholders and lenders.

So far today, the company's volume is 112,806 shares, above yesterday's volume of 87,645 shares. 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. A simple P/E ratio can reveal the stock's real market value and show how the valuation compares to its industry group or a benchmark like the S&P 500 Index. The P/E ratio for TROX is 11.4, below the industry average of 13.63. A low P/E ratio may indicate that the market expects relatively slower earnings growth. 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: How To Find P/E And PEG Ratios

VF (NYSE:VFC) is up 2.7% to reach a current price of $134.85 per share. So far today, two million shares have changed hands. This is 1.7 times its average volume over the past three months. If a stock price moves on high volume, this means that the change is a significant one. Margin ratios highlight companies that are worth further examination. VFC's gross profit margin is 47.5%. Operating margin can be an important ratio for some investors, particularly those investing in weaker companies or companies in cyclical industries. VFC's operating profit margin is 12.3%. Net profit margin examines how effectively a company is managed and how profitable it is by looking at how much of each dollar in revenues ultimately hits the company's bottom line. The company has a net profit margin of 9%.

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 debt-equity (D/E) ratio is a leverage ratio. VFC has a D/E ratio of 56%. The D/E ratio is not a pure measurement of a company's debt because it includes operational liabilities in total liabilities.

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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