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Tickers in this Article: LUFK, TRS, SLXP, MWIV, MELI, LECO, STRA
The market is currently down, with the Nasdaq decreasing 0.2%, the S&P 500 down 0.1% and the Dow slipping 0.1%. 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
Lufkin Industries, Inc. (Nasdaq:LUFK)$1.99 billion-17.7%
TriMas Corp (Nasdaq:TRS)$675.9 million+14.7%
Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. (Nasdaq:SLXP)$3.09 billion-12.6%
MWI Veterinary Supply, Inc. (Nasdaq:MWIV)$1.18 billion+12.6%
Mercadolibre Inc (Nasdaq:MELI)$3.34 billion-10.1%
Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:LECO)$3.72 billion-9.3%
Strayer Education Inc (Nasdaq:STRA)$914.6 million-6.3%
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Shares of Lufkin Industries (Nasdaq:LUFK) are currently trading at $48.82, a steep decline of 17.7%. So far today, the company's volume is 1.1 million shares, two times its current daily average. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift 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. A company's price/earnings ratio (P/E ratio) provides a measure of how expensive or cheap a stock is. Compared to the industry average of 13.48, LUFK's P/E ratio of 28.5 is quite high. 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. 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: Profit With The Power Of Price-To-Earnings

TriMas (Nasdaq:TRS) has soared 14.7% to reach a current price of $22.01 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 380,147 shares. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it. Valuation ratios allow the investor to make a quick determination as to a company's investment value. The capitalization ratio is calculated by dividing long-term debt by the sum of long-term debt and shareholders' equity. TRS has a capitalization ratio of 71%, which is on the high end. A high capitalization ratio is not necessarily bad since higher financial leverage can increase the return on a shareholder's investment. A low level of debt and a healthy proportion of equity in a company's capital structure is an indication of financial fitness.

Salix (Nasdaq:SLXP) is currently trading at $46.48 per share, after a steep drop of 12.6%. With 1.9 million shares changing hands so far today, the company's volume is 3.7 times its current three-month average. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest. Investors can use valuation ratios as tools to estimate what kind of deal a particular investment is. As with most ratios, comparisons of company price/earnings to growth ratios (PEG ratios) are most appropriate for similar companies. PEG ratio for SLXP is consistent with the industry average at 1.42. Because of the adjustment for earnings growth rate, the PEG ratio is somewhat more useful than many formulas for comparing companies in different industries.

After a big jump of 12.6%, MWI Veterinary Supply (Nasdaq:MWIV) is trading at $104.02 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 154,967 shares. This is more trading activity than there was yesterday. Volume indicates the level of interest that investors have in a company at its current price. 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 price/book value ratio is especially important for value investors as it can provide an indication of the true value of a company's assets at a time when its business model may be failing. MWIV's stock is trading for more than its book value with a P/B ratio of 4.03. This may be a sign that the company is overvalued. Users need to be careful when applying this ratio though, as it is more useful for industrial companies that have a lot of tangible assets than it is for technology or consumer product companies that may not have much in the way of hard assets. SEE: How Buybacks Warps The Price-To-Book Ratio

Mercadolibre (Nasdaq:MELI) is at a share price of $68.05 after a sharp decline of 10.1%. So far today, the company's volume is 1.3 million shares, 2.9 times the current daily average. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is. 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. Dividend yield is a way to measure how much cash flow you are getting for each dollar invested in an equity position - in other words, how much "bang for your buck" you are getting from dividends. MELI has a low dividend yield of 0.6%. If you are an income investor, this stock may not be attractive to you. A higher dividend yield may indicate a risk of a fall in the price of the security, or a cut in the level of dividend payments, either of which would have the effect of dropping future returns. SEE: Investment Valuation Ratios: Dividend Yield

Lincoln Electric Holdings (Nasdaq:LECO) is currently trading at a share price of $40.30, a 9.3% decline. The company's volume for the day so far is 479,309 shares. Volume is also used as a secondary indicator to help confirm what the price movement is suggesting. 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. The price/sales ratio measures a company's stock market value by its total revenues or alternatively, a company's price per share by its revenue per share. LECO's P/S ratio of 1.34 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 compare P/S ratios for companies in the same industry, as ratios can vary quite widely for companies in different industries.

Strayer Education (Nasdaq:STRA) is down 6.3% to reach $72.23 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 121,023 shares, 0.3 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 debt ratio gives users a quick measure of the amount of debt that the company has on its balance sheets compared to its assets. STRA has a debt ratio of 75%, which is on the high side. As such, the company is highly leveraged and not highly liquid. 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.

The Bottom Line The nature of the market is such that stocks will have good days and bad days. 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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