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Tickers in this Article: FSRV, CLI, CBG, HHC, JOE, MAA, WPC
On a good day for the market, the Nasdaq is trading up 0.6%, the S&P 500 is up 0.8% and the Dow has increased 1.1%.

The Real Estate Operations sector (IYR) is down 0.6% on a good day for the market overall. The biggest movers in the sector so far are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
FirstService Corporation (Nasdaq:FSRV)$802.3 million+4.3%
Mack Cali (NYSE:CLI)$2.34 billion-3.1%
CBRE Group (NYSE:CBG)$6.04 billion+2.6%
Howard (NYSE:HHC)$2.7 billion+2.5%
St. Joe (NYSE:JOE)$1.8 billion+2.1%
Mid America Apartment Communities (NYSE:MAA)$2.68 billion-2%
W. P (NYSE:WPC)$1.98 billion-1.9%
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After rising 4.3%, FirstService Corporation (Nasdaq:FSRV) is currently trading at a share price of $29.14. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 55,930 shares. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it. 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 capitalization ratio measures the debt component of the capital structure, or capitalization of a company (i.e., the sum of long-term debt liabilities and shareholder equity) to support operations and growth. FSRV has a high capitalization ratio of 63.5%. A company considered too highly leveraged (too much debt) may find its freedom of action restricted by its creditors and/or have its profitability hurt by high interest costs. 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.

Falling 3.1%, Mack Cali (NYSE:CLI) is currently at a share price of $25.78. The company's volume is currently 385,028 shares for the day, in keeping with its current three-month average. Volume is also used as a secondary indicator to help confirm what the price movement is suggesting. Investors can use valuation ratios as tools to estimate what kind of deal a particular investment is. Dividend yield measures the income that a stock will generate for an investor. CLI has a dividend yield of 6.8%. A higher dividend yield may indicate a risk of a fall in the price of the security, or a cut in the level of dividend payments, either of which would have the effect of dropping future returns. SEE: Due Diligence On Dividends

CBRE Group (NYSE:CBG) is currently trading at $18.88 per share, a 2.6% increase. The company is trading at a volume of 1.7 million shares. This is about the same trading activity as there was yesterday. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest. 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. In a nutshell, the price/sales ratio shows how much Wall Street values every dollar of the company's sales. CBG's P/S ratio of 0.86 is fairly low. Low P/S ratios can indicate unrecognized value potential - so long as other criteria like high profit margins, low debt levels and growth prospects are in place. 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.

Howard (NYSE:HHC) has increased to a share price of $72.80, a 2.5% rise. The company's volume is currently 77,807 shares for the day, 0.8 times the average daily volume. Volume is an important indicator because it indicates how significant a price shift is. Understanding investment valuation ratios allows an investor to assess the true value of an individual stock. The debt ratio measures the leverage of a company, and a company's leverage is a good way to assess risk. The debt ratio for HHC is a low 35.2%. 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.

St. Joe (NYSE:JOE) has risen 2.1% and is currently trading at $19.91 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 130,734 shares. If a stock price moves on high volume, this means that the change is a significant one. It is important for an investor to estimate the value of any potential or existing investment; valuation ratios make this easier. 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. JOE has a debt-equity ratio of 9%, which is on the low side. This shows that the company's assets are financed primarily through equity. The D/E ratio is not a pure measurement of a company's debt because it includes operational liabilities in total liabilities.

Mid America Apartment Communities (NYSE:MAA) has decreased to $64.03 per share, a 2% fall. At 116,342 shares, the company's volume so far today is consistent with its current three-month 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. When estimating the value of a particular investment, valuation ratios provide a good basis for assessing the value of an individual stock. The price/book value ratio is calculated by dividing the current stock price by the company's book value per share. The P/B ratio for MAA is 3.14, indicating that the stock is trading for more than its book value. This high share price relative to asset value is likely to indicate that the company has been earning a very high return on its assets. All else being equal, a stock with a low P/B value ratio is more attractive than a stock with a high ratio. SEE: Using The Price-To-Book Ratio To Evaluate Companies

W. P (NYSE:WPC) is down 1.9% to reach $48.05 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 657,169 shares. This is more trading activity than there was yesterday. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. A company's investment value can be 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 P/E ratio has been used for ages by analysts and still remains one of the most relevant pieces of stock valuation. The P/E ratio for WPC is 25.5, above the industry average of 0.43. 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

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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