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Tickers in this Article: GRA, TCK, SLGN, CE, CLF, GOLD, NEM
The Nasdaq is trading down 0.8%, the S&P 500 has declined 0.2% and the Dow has climbed 0.4% after the morning's trading. The basic materials sector is the category of stocks that accounts for companies involved with the discovery, development and processing of raw materials. This sector includes the mining and refining of metals, chemical producers and forestry products. The basic materials sector is sensitive to changes in the business cycle. Because the sector supplies materials for construction, it depends on a strong economy. This sector is also sensitive to supply and demand fluctuations because the price of raw materials, such as gold or other metals, is largely demand driven.

The Basic Materials sector (XLB) has moved up 0.2% so far today and here are its biggest movers:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
W.R. Grace & Co. (NYSE:GRA)$3.77 billion+10.7%
Teck Resources Limited (NYSE:TCK)$16.6 billion-7%
Silgan Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq:SLGN)$3.01 billion-5.7%
Celanese Corporation (NYSE:CE)$5.87 billion-3.8%
Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF)$6.08 billion-3.7%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (ADR) (Nasdaq:GOLD)$7.67 billion+3%
Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM)$21.75 billion+2.8%
Broker Summary: Fidelity Online Brokerage

W.R (NYSE:GRA) is trading at $55.90 per share, a significant rise of 10.7%. At 1.2 million shares, the company's volume so far today is 1.6 times the average daily volume. Volume indicates the level of interest that investors have in a company at its current price. Investors can make use of valuation ratios to estimate whether a stock is fairly valued. The debt ratio gives users a quick measure of the amount of debt that the company has on its balance sheets compared to its assets. The debt ratio for GRA is 94.4%, which is relatively high. This might mean that the company now has low borrowing capacity, which reduces it's financial flexibility. 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.

Falling 7%, Teck (NYSE:TCK) is currently at a share price of $26.74. So far today, 2.8 million shares of the company's stock have changed hands. Yesterday's volume was only 2.5 million shares. Volume is also used as a secondary indicator to help confirm what the price movement is suggesting. Valuation ratios allow the investor to make a quick determination as to a company's investment value. The debt-equity (D/E) ratio is a measurement of how much suppliers, lenders, creditors and obligors have committed to the company versus what the shareholders have committed. TCK's debt-equity ratio of 38% is on the low end. A low D/E ratio may be a sign that the company is not taking advantage of leverage to increase its profits. The D/E ratio percentage provides a much more dramatic perspective on a company's leverage position than the debt ratio percentage.

Currently trading at $40.72 per share, Silgan Holdings (Nasdaq:SLGN) has fallen 5.7%. With 238,889 shares changing hands so far today, the company's volume is 1.4 times its current three-month average. 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 capitalization ratio is calculated by dividing long-term debt by the sum of long-term debt and shareholders' equity. SLGN has a high capitalization ratio of 69.5%. The company may have trouble meeting operating and debt liabilities on time and surviving adverse economic conditions. Prudent use of leverage (debt) increases the financial resources available to a company for growth and expansion.

At $36.13, Celanese (NYSE:CE) has slipped 3.8%. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 754,915 shares. 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. 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 price/book value ratio is calculated by dividing the current stock price by the company's book value per share. CE has a P/B ratio of 3.67 which shows that its share price is higher 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. To put things in perspective, should be made among companies in the same industry rather than across industries. SEE: Using The Price-To-Book Ratio To Evaluate Companies

Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) has decreased to $41.09 per share, a 3.7% fall. At 2.8 million shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.8 times the current daily average. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest. 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. Price/earnings ratios (P/E ratios) provide a measure of the relative value of a stock. CLF's P/E ratio of 3.9 is under the industry average of 6.37. A low P/E might arise due to substantial inherent risk of the firm and its operations, poor return on equity, or improper valuation of the market. High P/E stocks could be "growth" stocks, while low PE stocks may be "value" stocks. SEE: Can Investors Trust the P/E Ratio?

Randgold Resources Ltd (Nasdaq:GOLD) has moved up 3% and is currently trading at $86.21 per share. The company's volume is currently 197,109 shares. This is on pace to reach yesterday's trading volume of 345,084 shares. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is. 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/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio can reveal value what price/earnings (P/E) ratios alone may not so that if a company has a high P/E ratio (an indication that its stock is overpriced) but its earnings are growing very quickly, the PEG ratio may reveal that the company is actually fairly valued, or perhaps even a bargain. PEG ratio for GOLD is 1.99. 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.

Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) has increased to a share price of $45.59, a 2.8% rise. The company's volume for the day so far is two million shares, consistent with its current three-month average. 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. The dividend yield is calculated by dividing a company's dividends per share by its stock price. NEM's dividend yield is 3.2%. 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

The Bottom Line On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. 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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