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Tickers in this Article: COHR, ATE, ELX, MSCC, PKE, VLTR, ISIL
The morning has been good for the market. The Nasdaq is trading up 1.4%; the S&P 500 is up 1.1%; and the Dow has increased 0.8%.

Underperforming the market overall, the Semiconductors sector (XLK) is up 1.2%, and these are its current biggest movers:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Coherent, Inc. (Nasdaq:COHR)$1.06 billion+10.2%
Advantest Corp. (ADR) (NYSE:ATE)$2.79 billion-9.4%
Emulex Corporation (NYSE:ELX)$555.5 million-6.6%
Microsemi Corporation (Nasdaq:MSCC)$1.62 billion+4.1%
Park Electrochemical Corp. (NYSE:PKE)$546.5 million+3.8%
Volterra Semiconductor Corporation (Nasdaq:VLTR)$583.1 million+3.6%
Intersil Corp (Nasdaq:ISIL)$1.21 billion-3%
Broker Summary: Charles Schwab Online Brokerage

Coherent (Nasdaq:COHR) is currently at $49.41 per share after a dramatic increase of 10.2%. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 65,385 shares. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is. When estimating the value of a particular investment, valuation ratios provide a good basis for assessing the value of an individual stock. 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. PEG ratio for COHR is 1.06. Because of the adjustment for earnings growth rate, the PEG ratio is somewhat more useful than many formulas for comparing companies in different industries.

Falling 9.4%, Advantest Corp (NYSE:ATE) is currently at a share price of $12.65. This morning, 6,289 shares have been traded, above yesterday's volume of 5,982 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. Investment valuation ratios provide investors with an estimation, albeit a simplistic one, of the value of a stock. The price/book value ratio provides a way of evaluating whether a stock is relatively cheap or expensive. ATE has a P/B ratio of 1.37 which shows that its share price is higher than its book value. This may be a sign that the company is overvalued. A weakness of the P/B value ratio is that while the price component is easily determined by looking at the stock quote, the book value component is more difficult to estimate and more open to individual interpretation and analysis. SEE: Investment Valuation Ratios: Price/Book Value Ratio

Slipping 6.6%, Emulex (NYSE:ELX) is currently trading at $5.98 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 1.1 million shares. This is 1.2 times its average daily volume. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest. Investment valuation ratios can be very useful in estimating whether a stock price is too high, reasonable or a bargain investment opportunity. A price/sales ratio is derived by dividing stock market price by company sales. The P/S ratio for ELX is 1.81, which is relatively high. This could be a good sign if the share price increases. All things being equal, a low P/S ratio is good news for investors, while a very high one can be a warning sign.

Microsemi (Nasdaq:MSCC) is at $18.96 per share after an increase of 4.1%. With 121,873 shares changing hands so far today, the company's volume is 0.2 times the current three-month average. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it. It is important for an investor to estimate the value of any potential or existing investment; valuation ratios make this easier. The debt ratio is calculated by dividing total liabilities by total assets. MSCC's debt ratio is 54.7%. As with all financial ratios, a company's debt ratio should be compared with the industry average or similar companies.

Park (NYSE:PKE) has risen 3.8% and is currently trading at $27.28 per share. So far today, 9,722 shares have changed hands. If a stock price makes a big move up or down, volume lets us know the significance of that 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. A company's price/earnings ratio (P/E ratio) provides a measure of how expensive or cheap a stock is. PKE's P/E ratio is 25.1. A high or low P/E ratio is not good or bad in and of itself, but a company trading with a high P/E ratio must continue to post strong financial performance or its stock price is likely to fall. SEE: Can Investors Trust the P/E Ratio?

Volterra (Nasdaq:VLTR) is up 3.6% to reach a current price of $23.82 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 144,823 shares, while it was 374,986 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. 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/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio compares a company's P/E ratio to its earnings-per-share growth rate, which tells you whether or not you are getting a good value when purchasing a stock with a high price/earnings ratio (P/E ratio). VLTR has a PEG ratio of 1.5, which is consistent with the industry average. 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 a decline of 3%, Intersil (Nasdaq:ISIL) has hit a share price of $9.20. The company's volume for the morning is 835,225 shares. This is 0.4 times its current daily average. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is. 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 price/book value ratio is calculated by dividing the current stock price by the company's book value per share. ISIL's P/B ratio of 1.1 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: Using The Price-To-Book Ratio To Evaluate Companies

The Bottom Line On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. Paying close attention to the previous ratios will help you identify key times to adjust your strategy. However, these fundamental metrics must be analyzed with historic data, industry information in addition to firm specific financial statements.

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