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Tickers in this Article: EZPW, BMA, ACTG, LFC, ASPS, BAP, AWH
It's been a bad day for the market after the morning's trading. The Nasdaq has declined 1%; the S&P 500 has fallen 0.5%; and the Dow is trading down 0.3%. The financial sector is the category of stocks containing firms that provide financial services to commercial and retail customers. This sector includes banks, investment funds, insurance companies and real estate. Financial services perform best in low interest rate environments. A large portion of this sector generates revenue from mortgages and loans, which gain value as interest rates drop. Furthermore, when the business cycle is in an upswing, the financial sector benefits from additional investments. Improved economic conditions usually lead to more capital projects and increased personal investing. New projects require financing, which usually leads to a larger number of loans.

The Financial sector (XLF) is currently ahead of the overall market, down only 0.2%, and its biggest movers are currently:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
EZCORP (Nasdaq:EZPW)$1.12 billion-7.8%
Banco Macro SA (NYSE:BMA)$857.4 million-5.5%
Acacia (Nasdaq:ACTG)$1.25 billion-3.8%
China Life Insurance Company Ltd (NYSE:LFC)$83.8 billion-2.1%
Altisource Portfolio Solutions (Nasdaq:ASPS)$2.6 billion+1.2%
Credicorp Ltd (NYSE:BAP)$10.19 billion-1.2%
Allied World Assurance Co (NYSE:AWH)$2.83 billion+1.2%
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EZCORP (Nasdaq:EZPW) is currently trading at a share price of $20.20, a 7.8% decline. So far today, the company's volume is 579,936 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.

Banco Macro SA (NYSE:BMA) has decreased to $13.87 per share, a 5.5% fall. So far today, the company's volume is 77,382 shares, 0.6 times its current daily average. Volume indicates the level of interest that investors have in a company at its current price.

After a decline of 3.8%, Acacia (Nasdaq:ACTG) has hit a share price of $24.18. The company's volume is currently 468,063 shares. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest.

Slipping 2.1%, China Life Insurance Company Ltd (NYSE:LFC) is currently trading at $43.52 per share. The company's volume is currently 51,289 shares for the day, 0.3 times its average over the past three months. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator.

After rising 1.2%, Altisource Portfolio Solutions (Nasdaq:ASPS) is currently trading at a share price of $112.81. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 47,472 shares. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator.

Falling 1.2%, Credicorp Ltd (NYSE:BAP) is currently at a share price of $126.25. At 80,498 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.4 times the average daily volume. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is.

Allied World Assurance Co (NYSE:AWH) is currently trading at $80.12 per share, a 1.2% increase. So far today, the company's volume is 67,802 shares. This is a sign that there will be less trading activity than there was yesterday. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is.

The Bottom Line The nature of the market is such that stocks will have good days and bad days. 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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