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Tickers in this Article: OVTI, FSLR, SWKS, LRCX, COHR, CYMI, BRCM
It's been a good morning for the market. The Nasdaq has climbed 0.8%; the S&P 500 has increased 0.8%; and the Dow is trading up 0.9%.

Outperforming the market overall, the Semiconductors sector (XLK) is up 0.9% and its biggest movers so far today are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
OmniVision Technologies (Nasdaq:OVTI)$851.2 million+4.8%
First Solar (Nasdaq:FSLR)$1.71 billion+4.6%
Skyworks Solutions (Nasdaq:SWKS)$5.61 billion+3.2%
Lam (Nasdaq:LRCX)$4.09 billion+2.5%
Coherent (Nasdaq:COHR)$1.1 billion+2.3%
Cymer (Nasdaq:CYMI)$1.73 billion+2.2%
Broadcom (Nasdaq:BRCM)$19.56 billion+2.1%
Software Summary: Finviz.com Stock Screener

Rising 4.8%, OmniVision Technologies (Nasdaq:OVTI) is currently trading at $16.67 per share. At 6.9 million shares, the company's volume so far today is more than yesterday's 4.8 million shares. 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 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 easy-to-calculate debt ratio is helpful to investors looking for a quick take on the leverage for a company. The debt ratio for OVTI is a low 31%. This indicates that the company engages in conservative financing with opportunities to borrow in the future at no significant risk. 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 4.6%, First Solar (Nasdaq:FSLR) has reached a current price of $20.57. The company's volume for the day so far is 6.7 million shares. This is 0.7 times its current three-month average. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is. 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. In a nutshell, the price/sales ratio shows how much Wall Street values every dollar of the company's sales. FSLR has a P/S ratio of 0.42, on the low end. A company with a lower P/S ratio is generally considered more attractive, since investors are paying less for each dollar of sales. 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 3.2%, Skyworks Solutions (Nasdaq:SWKS) is trading at $30.35 per share. The company's volume is currently 1.8 million shares for the day, consistent with its current daily average. 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 determining the value of a stock, but it is very important to keep in mind that while some financial ratios have general rules (or a broad application), in most instances it is a prudent practice to look at a company's historical performance and use peer company/industry comparisons to put any given company's ratio in perspective. The price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio divides a company's P/E ratio by its growth rate of earnings-per-share. SWKS has a PEG ratio of 1.77. Because of the adjustment for earnings growth rate, the PEG ratio is somewhat more useful than many formulas for comparing companies in different industries.

Lam (Nasdaq:LRCX) has risen 2.5% and is currently trading at $34.22 per share. The company is currently trading a volume of 682,766 shares. 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 price/book value ratio is especially important for value investors as it can provide an indication of the true value of a company's assets at a time when its business model may be failing. The P/B ratio for LRCX is 1.22, indicating that the stock is trading for more 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

Coherent (Nasdaq:COHR) is up 2.3% to reach a current price of $47.48 per share. So far today, 24,948 shares have changed hands,. If a stock price makes a big move up or down, volume lets us know the significance of that move. Looking at a company's valuation ratios is a good way of getting a basic idea as to its value as an investment. Price/earnings ratios (P/E ratios) provide a measure of the relative value of a stock. Relative to the industry P/E ratio of 32.05, COHR's 13.9 is low. A low P/E ratio may indicate that the market expects relatively slower earnings growth. High P/E stocks could be "growth" stocks, while low PE stocks may be "value" stocks. SEE: Understanding The P/E Ratio

Cymer (Nasdaq:CYMI) has moved up 2.2% and is currently trading at $56.99 per share. So far today, 57,963 shares have changed hands. This is 0.2 times its average volume over the past three months. Volume is an important indicator because it indicates how significant a price shift is. Investors can make use of valuation ratios to estimate whether a stock is fairly valued. The debt ratio is calculated by dividing total liabilities by total assets. CYMI has a low debt ratio of 20.6%. A low debt ratio means the company has more available cash flow. As with all financial ratios, a company's debt ratio should be compared with the industry average or similar companies.

After rising 2.1%, Broadcom (Nasdaq:BRCM) is currently trading at a share price of $35.73. The company's volume is currently 2.2 million shares for the day, in keeping with 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. Investment valuation ratios can be very useful in determining the value of a stock, but it is very important to keep in mind that while some financial ratios have general rules (or a broad application), in most instances it is a prudent practice to look at a company's historical performance and use peer company/industry comparisons to put any given company's ratio in perspective. The price/sales ratio is used for spotting recovery situations or for double-checking that a company's growth has not become overvalued. The P/S ratio for BRCM is 2.49, which is relatively high. This could be a good sign if the share price increases. 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 No matter the economic climate, Wall Street will always have stocks that make major moves each week. Daily stock performance should be weighed against historical performance and put in context of the market overall. 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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