The market is currently down, with the Nasdaq declining 0.3%, the S&P 500 decreasing 0.3% and the Dow falling 0.1%.

The Real Estate Operations sector (IYR) is down 1.5%, underperforming the market overall. The current biggest movers in the sector are:

CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Crexus (NYSE:CXS)$811.5 million+4.8%
Digital Realty Trust (NYSE:DLR)$8.94 billion-3.4%
Macerich (NYSE:MAC)$8.05 billion-2.1%
Taubman Centers (NYSE:TCO)$4.7 billion-2.1%
Avalonbay (NYSE:AVB)$13.62 billion-2%
Essex Property Trust (NYSE:ESS)$5.62 billion-1.9%
Camden (NYSE:CPT)$5.65 billion-1.8%
Forex Broker Summary: Forex Capital Markets (FXCM)

Crexus (NYSE:CXS) has moved up 4.8% and is currently trading at $11.10 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 562,508 shares, 1.5 times its current three-month average. 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. When estimating the value of a particular investment, valuation ratios provide a good basis for assessing the value of an individual stock. A company's price/earnings ratio (P/E ratio) provides a measure of how expensive or cheap a stock is. CXS' P/E ratio of 7.1 falls below the industry average of 10.17. A low P/E ratio may indicate that the market expects relatively slower earnings growth. A high P/E ratio indicates a stock that is expensive, while a low P/E ratio indicates a stock that is cheap. SEE: The P/E Ratio: A Good Market-Timing Indicator

Falling 3.4%, Digital Realty Trust (NYSE:DLR) is currently at a share price of $69.56. So far today, 834,665 shares have changed hands. If a stock price moves on high volume, this means that the change is a significant one. 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 capitalization ratio is calculated by dividing long-term debt by the sum of long-term debt and shareholders' equity. DLR's capitalization ratio of 55.8% is relatively high. The company may have trouble meeting operating and debt liabilities on time and surviving adverse economic conditions. A low level of debt and a healthy proportion of equity in a company's capital structure is an indication of financial fitness.

Currently trading at $58.98 per share, Macerich (NYSE:MAC) has fallen 2.1%. So far today, the company's volume is 227,378 shares, 0.3 times the current daily average. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest. Investors can make use of valuation ratios to estimate whether a stock is fairly valued. The dividend yield is measured by taking the annual dividends per share and dividing that number by the stock price. Dividend yield for MAC is 3.6%. For income-oriented investors such as retirees, a stock with a high dividend yield may be more attractive than a stock with a low dividend yield. SEE: Investment Valuation Ratios: Dividend Yield

After a decline of 2.1%, Taubman Centers (NYSE:TCO) has hit a share price of $78.19. The company's volume for the day so far is 208,472 shares. This is on pace to reach yesterday's trading volume of 354,676 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. Valuation ratios allow the investor to make a quick determination as to a company's investment value. 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 TCO is 4.45. Because of the adjustment for earnings growth rate, the PEG ratio is somewhat more useful than many formulas for comparing companies in different industries.

Avalonbay (NYSE:AVB) is trading at $138.63 per share, down 2%. At 267,696 shares, the company's volume so far today is in keeping with the average volume 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. 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 debt ratio shows the proportion of assets that a company is financing through debt. AVB has a debt ratio of 45.5%, which is fairly low. 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.

Essex Property Trust (NYSE:ESS) is currently trading at a share price of $151.08, a 1.9% decline. The company is currently trading a volume of 44,669 shares. Volume is also used as a secondary indicator to help confirm what the price movement is suggesting. 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. ESS' D/E ratio of 164% is on the high side. Companies in capital-intensive industries usually have higher D/E ratios because they need to buy more property, plants, and equipment to operate. The D/E ratio is not a pure measurement of a company's debt because it includes operational liabilities in total liabilities.

Slipping 1.8%, Camden (NYSE:CPT) is currently trading at $66.29 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 101,137 shares, 0.1 times the average daily volume. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. 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. The P/S ratio for CPT is a high 7.76. 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.

The Bottom Line The nature of the market is such that stocks will have good days and bad days. Paying close attention to the previous ratios will help you identify key times to adjust your strategy. 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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Tickers in this Article: CXS, DLR, MAC, TCO, AVB, ESS, CPT

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