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Tickers in this Article: ZNH, ASR, CEA, AIRM, MINI, HUBG, KSU
The Nasdaq has remained steady, the S&P 500 is trading up 0.4% and the Dow is up 0.5% so far today. The transportation sector is a category of stocks relating to the transportation of goods or customers. It is made up of airlines, railroads and trucking companies. The performance of the transportation sector is sensitive to the price of oil. Because operations revolve around the use of vehicles, fuel prices represent a significant cost to transportation companies. As the price of oil rises, transportation companies will be expected to earn less. Inversely, these companies do well when the cost of fuel decreases.

The Transportation sector (IYT) has climbed 0.5% overall, and these are the biggest movers in the sector so far:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
China Southern Airlines Limited (NYSE:ZNH)$4.35 billion+3.6%
Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (NYSE:ASR)$2.69 billion+3.1%
China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd (NYSE:CEA)$3.47 billion+2.9%
Air (Nasdaq:AIRM)$1.56 billion-2.9%
Mobile Mini (Nasdaq:MINI)$803.7 million-1.9%
Hub Group (Nasdaq:HUBG)$1.1 billion-1.8%
Kansas City (NYSE:KSU)$8.11 billion+1.5%
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China Southern Airlines Limited (NYSE:ZNH) has moved up 3.6% and is currently trading at $22.92 per share. At 4,385 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.2 times the average volume over the last three months. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. Looking at a company's valuation ratios is a good way of getting a basic idea as to its value as an investment. The price/book value ratio is calculated by dividing the current stock price by the company's book value per share. ZNH has a P/B ratio of 0.88, which shows that its book value is higher than its share price. This is due to one of two possibilities: that the stock is being unfairly or incorrectly undervalued by investors because of some transitory circumstance and represents an attractive buying opportunity at a bargain price or that the market's low opinion and valuation of the company are correct, at least over the foreseeable future. One problem with the P/B value ratio is that it can be difficult to calculate the true book value of a company, so investors should be aware that many measures of book value may provide only a rough estimate, and should be taken with a grain of salt. SEE: How Buybacks Warps The Price-To-Book Ratio

Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (NYSE:ASR) has increased to a share price of $92.28, a 3.1% rise. The company's volume for the day so far is 18,957 shares. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is. 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. One of the most important estimates of stock market valuation is the price/earnings ratio (P/E ratio). Relative to the industry P/E ratio of 45.8, ASR's 20.0 is low. 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: The P/E Ratio: A Good Market-Timing Indicator

China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd (NYSE:CEA) is at $15.85 per share after an increase of 2.9%. The company's volume is currently 4,760 shares for the day, 0.3 times its current daily average. Volume indicates the level of interest that investors have in a company at its current price. Investors can use valuation ratios as tools to estimate what kind of deal a particular investment is. The price/sales ratio measures a company's stock market value by its total revenues or alternatively, a company's price per share by its revenue per share. CEA's P/S ratio of 0.26 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. A limitation of the P/S ratio is that the price component measures only stock market captialization, while sales are a function of the entire capital structure, potentially leading to wide differences between levered and unlevered companies.

Slipping 2.9%, Air (Nasdaq:AIRM) is currently trading at $117.31 per share. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 15,913 shares. 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. Valuation ratios include 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 debt ratio shows the proportion of assets that a company is financing through debt. The debt ratio for AIRM is 68.3%, 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.

Mobile Mini (Nasdaq:MINI) has decreased to $17.25 per share, a 1.9% fall. So far today, the company's volume is 20,508 shares, 0.1 times the current three-month average. If a stock price makes a big move up or down, volume lets us know the significance of that move. 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. 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. The D/E ratio for MINI is 88%. The D/E ratio percentage provides a much more dramatic perspective on a company's leverage position than the debt ratio percentage.

Falling 1.8%, Hub Group (Nasdaq:HUBG) is currently at a share price of $28.66. The company's volume is currently 262,773 shares. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is. Investment valuation ratios provide investors with an estimation, albeit a simplistic one, of the value of a stock. 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. HUBG has a low capitalization ratio of 4.5%. A low capitalization ratio can signify a failure to leverage equity into investment, missing valuable opportunities for growth and expansion. 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.

After an increase of 1.5%, Kansas City (NYSE:KSU) has reached a current price of $74.80. So far today, the company's volume is 395,356 shares, 0.4 times the current daily average. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it. 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 dividend yield is calculated by dividing a company's dividends per share by its stock price. The dividend yield for KSU is 1.1%, which is on the low end. This could indicate that that the stock is overpriced or that future dividends might be higher. It is important to remember that dividends are only one component of a stock's return and capital appreciation (or decline) must also be considered when evaluating a security. SEE: Due Diligence On Dividends

The Bottom Line On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. It is important to weigh current activity against historical performance when making any investment decisions. However, these fundamental metrics must be analyzed with historic data, industry information in addition to firm specific financial statements.

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