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Tickers in this Article: QEP, CLMT, DK, CGV, SDT, OAS, COG
It's been a good morning for the market. The Nasdaq has risen 0.6%; the S&P 500 has moved up 0.5%; and the Dow is trading up 0.6%. The energy sector is the category of stocks that relate to producing or supplying energy. This sector includes companies involved in the exploration and development of oil or gas reserves, oil and gas drilling, or integrated power firms. Performance in the sector is largely driven by the supply and demand for worldwide energy. Energy producers will do very well during times of high oil and gas prices, but will earn less when the value of energy drops. Furthermore, this sector is sensitive to political events, which historically have driven changes in the price of oil.

Underperforming the market overall, the Energy sector (XLE) is up 0.2%, and these are its current biggest movers:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
QEP Resources (NYSE:QEP)$4.83 billion+6.9%
Calumet Specialty Products Partners (Nasdaq:CLMT)$1.55 billion+2.8%
Delek US Holdings (NYSE:DK)$1.48 billion-2.6%
CGG Veritas (NYSE:CGV)$4.49 billion-2.5%
Sandridge Mississippian Trust (NYSE:SDT)$693.3 million+2.4%
Oasis Petroleum (NYSE:OAS)$2.7 billion+2.2%
Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG)$8.53 billion+2.1%
Broker Summary: Fidelity Online Brokerage

QEP Resources (NYSE:QEP) is currently trading at $29.05 per share, a 6.9% increase. The company's volume for the day so far is 2.8 million shares. Yesterday's volume was only 1.6 million shares. Volume indicates the level of interest that investors have in a company at its current price. 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. 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. QEP has a PEG ratio of 2.75. 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.

Rising 2.8%, Calumet Specialty Products Partners (Nasdaq:CLMT) is currently trading at $27.77 per share. At 251,132 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.7 times the average daily volume. If a stock price moves on high volume, this means that the change is a significant one. Investors can make use of valuation ratios to estimate whether a stock is fairly valued. The debt-equity (D/E) ratio is a leverage ratio. The D/E ratio for CLMT is 98%. This easy-to-calculate ratio provides a general indication of a company's equity-liability relationship and is helpful to investors looking for a quick take on a company's leverage.

At $24.66, Delek US Holdings (NYSE:DK) has slipped 2.6%. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 209,874 shares. 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. 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. The debt ratio for DK is 65.4%, which is relatively high. As such, the company is highly leveraged and not highly liquid. 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.

CGG Veritas (NYSE:CGV) is trading at $28.83 per share, down 2.5%. With 5,187 shares changing hands so far today, the company's volume is in keeping with 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. 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. Perhaps one of the most widely-used stock analysis tools is the price-to-earnings ratio, or P/E. The P/E ratio for CGV is 60.2, above the industry average of 15.32. Generally speaking, the higher the P/E ratio, the higher the market expectations for a company's future performance. From the investor's perspective, a stock with a lower ratio is relatively cheaper than a stock with a higher ratio. SEE: Profit With The Power Of Price-To-Earnings

Sandridge Mississippian Trust (NYSE:SDT) is currently trading at $25.36 per share, a 2.4% increase. So far today, the company's volume is 66,819 shares. This is about the same trading activity as there was yesterday. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. 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/book value ratio is one of the more common methods of determining whether a stock is fairly valued. SDT's P/B ratio of 2.59 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. All else being equal, a stock with a low P/B value ratio is more attractive than a stock with a high ratio. SEE: Investment Valuation Ratios: Price/Book Value Ratio

Oasis Petroleum (NYSE:OAS) has moved up 2.2% and is currently trading at $29.51 per share. The company's volume is currently 938,507 shares for the day, 0.7 times the average daily volume. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it. Investment valuation ratios can be very useful in estimating whether a stock price is too high, reasonable or a bargain investment opportunity. 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 OAS is a high 4.58. 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.

After rising 2.1%, Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG) is currently trading at a share price of $41.48. So far today, 431,319 shares have changed hands. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is. Investors can use valuation ratios as tools to estimate what kind of deal a particular investment is. 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. COG has a low debt-equity ratio of 46%. Companies with low D/E ratios are more attractive to investors because they are better able to protect their business interests in times of decline. The D/E ratio is not a pure measurement of a company's debt because it includes operational liabilities in total liabilities.

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. However, these fundamental metrics must be analyzed with historic data, industry information in addition to firm specific financial statements.

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