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Tickers in this Article: DK, SDT, LPI, GPOR, COG, APU, SM
The market is having a bad day so far: the Nasdaq is trading down 0.2%; the S&P 500 is down 0.2%; and the Dow has slipped 0.2%.

The Oil and Gas Operations sector (DIG) is down 0.6%, underperforming the market overall. The current biggest movers in the sector are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Delek US Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:DK)$1.52 billion-9.4%
Sandridge Mississippian Trust I (NYSE:SDT)$815.9 million-4.3%
Laredo Petroleum Holdings Inc (NYSE:LPI)$3.01 billion-3.8%
Gulfport Energy Corporation (Nasdaq:GPOR)$1.48 billion-3.5%
Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (NYSE:COG)$9.13 billion-2.7%
AmeriGas Partners, L.P. (NYSE:APU)$3.71 billion+2.1%
SM Energy Co. (NYSE:SM)$3.08 billion-2.1%
Broker Summary: Charles Schwab Online Brokerage

Delek US Holdings (NYSE:DK) is trading at $23.60 per share, down 9.4%. The company's volume is currently 1.1 million shares for the day, 2.2 times the average daily volume. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is. When estimating the value of a particular investment, valuation ratios provide a good basis for assessing the value of an individual stock. The dividend yield is measured by taking the annual dividends per share and dividing that number by the stock price. DK's dividend yield of 0.6% is fairly low. A company with a low dividend yield may be a safer investment in the long run. To calculate the dividend yield, divide the level of dividends by the stock price; the higher the yield, the more attractive the security. SEE: Due Diligence On Dividends

Sandridge Mississippian Trust (NYSE:SDT) has fallen 4.3% and is currently trading at $27.87 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 204,542 shares. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it. 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. Perhaps one of the most widely-used stock analysis tools is the price-to-earnings ratio, or P/E. SDT has a P/E ratio of 15.2, high compared to the industry average of 9.11. 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 Find P/E And PEG Ratios

Laredo Petroleum Holdings (NYSE:LPI) is currently trading at a share price of $23.17, a 3.8% decline. With 20,681 shares changing hands so far today, the company's volume is 0.2 times its average 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. Understanding investment valuation ratios allows an investor to assess the true value of an individual stock. The debt-equity (D/E) ratio compares the total liabilities for a company to its total shareholder equity. LPI's D/E ratio is 99%. 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.

Gulfport (Nasdaq:GPOR) has decreased to $25.68 per share, a 3.5% fall. The company's volume is currently 744,647 shares. At this rate, trading activity will likely be down from yesterday when 2.1 million shares changed hands. 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. 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. The capitalizion ratio of 1.8% is on the low end. Low leverage is a significant balance sheet strength, a sign of a less risky investment. Prudent use of leverage (debt) increases the financial resources available to a company for growth and expansion.

Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG) is down 2.7% to reach $42.32 per share. At 778,631 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.3 times the current daily average. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. 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 price/book value ratio is calculated by dividing the current stock price by the company's book value per share. COG's P/B ratio of 4.17 shows that its share price is higher than its book value. This may be a sign that the company is overvalued. All else being equal, a stock with a low P/B value ratio is more attractive than a stock with a high ratio. SEE: How Buybacks Warps The Price-To-Book Ratio

AmeriGas Partners (NYSE:APU) is up 2.1% to reach a current price of $41.08 per share. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 43,857 shares. Volume is also used as a secondary indicator to help confirm what the price movement is suggesting. Investors can make use of valuation ratios to estimate whether a stock is fairly valued. The dividend yield is calculated by dividing a company's dividends per share by its stock price. Dividend yield for APU is 8%, which is fairly high. This is good news for income investors as the payout could be high. Just as with the yield on a bond or certificate of deposit, the higher the dividend yield, the higher the return to the investor. SEE: Investment Valuation Ratios: Dividend Yield

Currently trading at $46.85 per share, SM (NYSE:SM) has fallen 2.1%. At 378,465 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.2 times the current three-month average. 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 SM is a high 2.19. 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 keep in mind when looking at the P/S ratio that just because a company is generating revenues, this does not mean that the company is profitable, and in the long run, profits drive stock prices.

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. 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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