The Nasdaq has risen 1.9%, the S&P 500 is up 1.8% and the Dow has climbed 1.7% on a good day for the market so far.

The Semiconductors sector (XLK) is up 1.8%, underperforming the market overall. The biggest movers in the sector are currently:

CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
First Solar (Nasdaq:FSLR)$1.62 billion+6.8%
Hittite (Nasdaq:HITT)$1.61 billion+5.6%
Skyworks Solutions (Nasdaq:SWKS)$5.57 billion+5%
Power Integrations (Nasdaq:POWI)$989 million+4.4%
Avago (Nasdaq:AVGO)$8.61 billion+4%
Cymer (Nasdaq:CYMI)$1.76 billion+3.8%
Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq:CRUS)$2.75 billion+3.5%
Forex Broker Summary: UFXMarkets

First Solar (Nasdaq:FSLR) has increased to a share price of $19.92, a 6.8% rise. So far today, the company's volume is 5.1 million shares, in keeping with the average volume over the past three months. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is. Understanding investment valuation ratios allows an investor to assess the true value of an individual stock. 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. The P/S ratio for FSLR is 0.42, which is relatively low. The lower the P/S ratio, the more reasonably price the stock, all else being equal. All things being equal, a low P/S ratio is good news for investors, while a very high one can be a warning sign.

Increasing 5.6%, Hittite (Nasdaq:HITT) is trading at $54.01 per share. The company is currently trading a volume of 106,398 shares. 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 shows the proportion of assets that a company is financing through debt. The debt ratio for HITT is a low 3.5%. A low debt ratio means the company has more available cash flow. 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.

Skyworks Solutions (Nasdaq:SWKS) is up 5% to reach a current price of $30.66 per share. The company's volume is currently 2.2 million shares for the day, 0.7 times the average daily volume. If a stock price makes a big move up or down, volume lets us know the significance of that move. 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 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. SWKS has a PEG ratio of 1.75. 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.

After rising 4.4%, Power Integrations (Nasdaq:POWI) is currently trading at a share price of $35.80. So far today, 98,590 shares of the company's stock have changed hands. This is a sign that there will be less trading activity than there was yesterday. 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. Investment valuation ratios can be very useful in estimating whether a stock price is too high, reasonable or a bargain investment opportunity. Price/earnings ratios (P/E ratios) provide a measure of the relative value of a stock. POWI has a P/E ratio of 74.6. A high P/E ratio indicates a stock that is expensive, while a low P/E ratio indicates a stock that is cheap. SEE: Profit With The Power Of Price-To-Earnings

Avago (Nasdaq:AVGO) is at $36.59 per share after an increase of 4%. At 896,680 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.6 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. It is important for an investor to estimate the value of any potential or existing investment; valuation ratios make this easier. One of the favorite tools of many value investors is analyzing price/book value ratios, as it provides a measure of the underlying value of a company's assets as compared to the valuation of its equity. AVGO has a P/B ratio of 3.91 which shows that its share price is higher than its book value. This implies that investors expect management to create more value from a given set of assets and/or that the market value of the firm's assets is significantly higher than their accounting value. To put things in perspective, should be made among companies in the same industry rather than across industries. SEE: Using The Price-To-Book Ratio To Evaluate Companies

Cymer (Nasdaq:CYMI) has risen 3.8% to hit a current price of $58.75 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 48,310 shares. If a stock price moves on high volume, this means that the change is a significant one. 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. A price/sales ratio is derived by dividing stock market price by company sales. CYMI's P/S ratio of 3.14 is on the high side. This could be a good sign if the share price increases. 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.

Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq:CRUS) has moved up 3.5% and is currently trading at $44.10 per share. The company's volume is currently 1.3 million shares for the day, in keeping with its current daily average. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. 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. The debt ratio is calculated by dividing total liabilities by total assets. CRUS has a low debt ratio of 18.3%. This indicates that the company engages in conservative financing with opportunities to borrow in the future at no significant risk. As with all financial ratios, a company's debt ratio should be compared with the industry average or similar companies.

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. 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: FSLR, HITT, SWKS, POWI, AVGO, CYMI, CRUS

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