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Tickers in this Article: SNP, CEO, HES, BCEI, SM, MUR, EOG
The Nasdaq is down 0.5%, the S&P 500 has been relatively flat and the Dow has decreased 0.2% after the morning's trading.

While the market overall has shown little change, the Oil and Gas Operations sector (DIG) is up 2% and its current biggest movers are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (ADR) (NYSE:SNP)$71.69 billion+2.6%
CNOOC Limited (ADR) (NYSE:CEO)$86.56 billion+2.4%
Hess (NYSE:HES)$14.45 billion+2.4%
Bonanza Creek Energy Inc (NYSE:BCEI)$627.3 million-2.2%
SM Energy Co. (NYSE:SM)$2.96 billion+2.1%
Murphy Oil (NYSE:MUR)$9.48 billion+2.1%
EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG)$24.09 billion+1.8%
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China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (NYSE:SNP) has increased to a share price of $84.82, a 2.6% rise. The company's volume for the day so far is 45,853 shares. This is 0.5 times the current daily average. 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 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. Investment valuation ratios can be very useful in estimating whether a stock price is too high, reasonable or a bargain investment opportunity. The price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio is calculated by dividing the price/earnings ratio by growth in earnings-per-share; the lower the PEG ratio, the more reasonably valued the security. PEG ratio for SNP is consistent with the industry average at 2.02. Because of the adjustment for earnings growth rate, the PEG ratio is somewhat more useful than many formulas for comparing companies in different industries.

Increasing 2.4%, CNOOC Limited (NYSE:CEO) is trading at $198.41 per share. At 29,154 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.2 times the current three-month average. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. 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. The price/book value ratio provides a way of evaluating whether a stock is relatively cheap or expensive. CEO's stock is trading for more than its book value with a P/B ratio of 2.12. 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. 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

Hess (NYSE:HES) has moved up 2.4% and is currently trading at $43.30 per share. The company is currently trading a volume of 828,314 shares. Volume is an important indicator because it indicates how significant a price shift is. Profit-margin ratios can give investors deeper insight into management efficiency than earnings alone can provide. Gross profit margin, operating profit margin and net margin are commonly used margins. HES has a low gross profit margin of 20.2%. Investors should track gross profit margin ratios over several years in order to see if earnings are consistent, growing or declining. HES has an operating profit margin of 9.2% and a net profit margin of 3.5%, both low compared to its gross profit margin.

It is important for an investor to estimate the value of any potential or existing investment; valuation ratios make this easier. The dividend yield is measured by taking the annual dividends per share and dividing that number by the stock price. HES has a low dividend yield of 0.9%. A company with a low dividend yield may be a safer investment in the long run. 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: Due Diligence On Dividends

Bonanza Creek Energy (NYSE:BCEI) is down 2.2% to reach $15.54 per share. So far today, 123,948 shares have changed hands, while it was 140,425 shares yesterday. 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. Valuation ratios allow the investor to make a quick determination as to a company's investment value. The easy-to-calculate debt ratio is helpful to investors looking for a quick take on the leverage for a company. The debt ratio for BCEI is a low 25.9%. 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. 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.

After an increase of 2.1%, SM (NYSE:SM) has reached a current price of $47.05. The company's volume for the morning is 212,550 shares. This is 0.2 times its average daily volume. Volume indicates the level of interest that investors have in a company at its current price. 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. SM's gross profit margin is 72.5%. SM has an operating profit margin of 14.9% and a net profit margin of 17.5%, both high compared to its gross profit margin.

Looking at a company's valuation ratios is a good way of getting a basic idea as to its value as an investment. To a large degree, the debt-equity (D/E) ratio provides another vantage point on a company's leverage position, in this case, comparing total liabilities to shareholders' equity, as opposed to total assets in the debt ratio. SM has a D/E ratio of 68%. The D/E ratio percentage provides a much more dramatic perspective on a company's leverage position than the debt ratio percentage.

Murphy (NYSE:MUR) is up 2.1% to reach a current price of $49.83 per share. With 434,066 shares changing hands so far today, the company's volume is 0.2 times its average over the past three months. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is. There are many tools investors can use to evaluate a stock, including margins. Margins, quite simply, are earnings expressed as a ratio, or a percentage of sales, and this allows investors to compare the profitability of different companies, while net earnings, which are presented as an absolute number, cannot. MUR has a low gross profit margin of 12.4%. This may mean that the company is struggling to control production costs, or that a low amount of earnings is being generated from revenues. MUR's operating margin of 7% and net margin of 3% are low relative to its gross margin.

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 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 MUR is 10.9, above the industry average of 9.75. 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: How To Use The P/E Ratio And PEG To Tell The Future Of A Stock

EOG (NYSE:EOG) is currently trading at $91 per share, a 1.8% increase. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 660,209 shares. High volume indicates a lot of investor interest while low volume indicates the opposite. Margin ratios highlight companies that are worth further examination. EOG has a relatively high gross profit margin of 84.3%. Investors should track gross profit margin ratios over several years in order to see if earnings are consistent, growing or declining. Compared with its gross profit margin, EOG's operating profit margin of 19.9% and net profit margin of 11.6% are high.

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. 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. EOG has a fairly low capitalization ratio of 27.8%. A low capitalization ratio can signify a failure to leverage equity into investment, missing valuable opportunities for growth and expansion. 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.

The Bottom Line The nature of the market is such that stocks will have good days and bad days. Daily stock performance should be weighed against historical performance and put in context of the market overall. 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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