The Nasdaq is up 0.1%, the S&P 500 is trading up 0.3% and the Dow has increased 0.4% on a good day for the market so far.

The Consumer/Non-Cyclical sector (XLP) is relatively unchanged on a good day for the market overall. So far, the biggest movers in the sector are:


CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Monster (Nasdaq:MNST)$9.94 billion-6.3%
Revlon (NYSE:REV)$675.3 million+4.4%
United Natural Foods (Nasdaq:UNFI)$2.7 billion+4.3%
Altria (NYSE:MO)$69.91 billion-2.3%
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq:GMCR)$5 billion-2%
Hain Celestial Group (Nasdaq:HAIN)$3.14 billion-1.8%
Lorillard (NYSE:LO)$15.8 billion-1.8%
Broker Summary: E-Trade Financial

After a decline of 6.3%, Monster (Nasdaq:MNST) has hit a share price of $52.80. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 2.7 million shares. High volume indicates a lot of investor interest while low volume indicates the opposite. Investors can use valuation ratios as tools to estimate what kind of deal a particular investment is. When used consistently and uniformly, the price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio is an essential tool that adds dimension to the price/earnings ratio, allows comparisons across diverse industries and is always on the lookout for value. PEG ratio for MNST is consistent with the industry average at 1.58. 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.

Revlon (NYSE:REV) has moved up 4.4% and is currently trading at $13.47 per share. At 62,568 shares, the company's volume so far today is one times its current daily 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. Understanding investment valuation ratios allows an investor to assess the true value of an individual stock. 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. REV has a P/S ratio of 0.54, on the low end. The lower the P/S ratio, the more reasonably price the stock, all else being equal. 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.

United Natural Foods (Nasdaq:UNFI) has risen 4.3% to hit a current price of $57.63 per share. The company's volume is currently 206,417 shares. At this rate, trading activity will likely be down from yesterday when 1.9 million shares changed hands. 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. 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. UNFI's P/E ratio of 32.5 is above the industry average of 18.98. Generally speaking, the higher the P/E ratio, the higher the market expectations for a company's future performance. High P/E stocks could be "growth" stocks, while low PE stocks may be "value" stocks. SEE: How To Use The P/E Ratio And PEG To Tell The Future Of A Stock

At $33.62, Altria (NYSE:MO) has slipped 2.3%. The company's volume is currently 4.7 million shares for the day, 0.3 times the current three-month average. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it. Investment valuation ratios can be very useful in estimating whether a stock price is too high, reasonable or a bargain investment opportunity. The easy-to-calculate debt ratio is helpful to investors looking for a quick take on the leverage for a company. MO has a high debt ratio of 87.6%. As such, the company is highly leveraged and not highly liquid. As with all financial ratios, a company's debt ratio should be compared with the industry average or similar companies.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq:GMCR) is down 2% to reach $31.53 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 5.2 million shares. Volume is an important indicator because it indicates how significant a price shift is. Valuation ratios allow the investor to make a quick determination as to a company's investment value. If the price/book value ratio of a stock is high, it may indicate that the stock is expensive, while a lower ratio may indicate that the stock is a bargain. GMCR's P/B ratio of 2.21 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. 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

Hain Celestial Group (Nasdaq:HAIN) is trading at $68.51 per share, down 1.8%. The company's volume is currently 196,021 shares for the day, 0.3 times the current daily average. Volume indicates the level of interest that investors have in a company at its current price. It is important for an investor to estimate the value of any potential or existing investment; valuation ratios make this easier. 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. HAIN's capitalization ratio is 28.8%, which is relatively low. Low leverage is a significant balance sheet strength, a sign of a less risky investment. This ratio is considered to be one of the more meaningful of the "debt" ratios - it delivers the key insight into the use of leverage by a company.

Lorillard (NYSE:LO) is currently trading at a share price of $118.88, a 1.8% decline. The company is trading at a volume of 679,333 shares. This is on pace to reach yesterday's trading volume of 1.6 million 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. A wide array of ratios can be used by investors to estimate the attractiveness of a potential or existing investment and get an idea of its valuation. The price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio divides a company's P/E ratio by its growth rate of earnings-per-share. LO has a PEG ratio of 1.61, which is consistent with the industry average. Because of the adjustment for earnings growth rate, the PEG ratio is somewhat more useful than many formulas for comparing companies in different industries.

The Bottom Line No matter the economic climate, Wall Street will always have stocks that make major moves each week. 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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Tickers in this Article: MNST, REV, UNFI, MO, GMCR, HAIN, LO

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