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Tickers in this Article: VLO, DK, CLMT, IOC, BPT, HFC, MPC
The Nasdaq is trading up 0.5%, the S&P 500 is up 0.3% and the Dow has increased 0.1% on a good day for the market so far.

The Oil and Gas Operations sector (DIG) is up 1.1%, outperforming the market overall. The biggest movers in the sector so far are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Valero (NYSE:VLO)$16.13 billion+5.3%
Delek US Holdings (NYSE:DK)$1.44 billion+3.9%
Calumet Specialty Products Partners (Nasdaq:CLMT)$1.59 billion+3.4%
InterOil Corporation (NYSE:IOC)$3.81 billion+3.4%
BP Prudhoe Bay (NYSE:BPT)$2.33 billion-3.2%
HollyFrontier (NYSE:HFC)$7.94 billion+2.7%
Marathon (NYSE:MPC)$16.49 billion+2.5%
Software Summary: Finviz.com Stock Screener

After rising 5.3%, Valero (NYSE:VLO) is currently trading at a share price of $30.78. So far today, the company's volume is 9.4 million shares. As a stock moves up or down, it is important to pay attention to the trading volume. This indicates the level of interest: the higher the volume, the more the interest. When estimating the value of a particular investment, valuation ratios provide a good basis for assessing the value of an individual stock. 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. VLO has a debt-equity ratio of 42%, which is on the low side. A low D/E ratio may be a sign that the company is not taking advantage of leverage to increase its profits. 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.

Delek US Holdings (NYSE:DK) has risen 3.9% and is currently trading at $25.50 per share. The company's volume is currently 231,150 shares for the day, 0.3 times its current daily average. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is. Investment valuation ratios can be very useful in estimating whether a stock price is too high, reasonable or a bargain investment opportunity. Using price/earnings ratios (P/E ratios) does not give an indication of whether or not an individual company's ratio is reasonable, a shortcoming that can be corrected by using the price/earnings to growth ratio (PEG ratio). DK's PEG ratio is -0.25. Because of the adjustment for earnings growth rate, the PEG ratio is somewhat more useful than many formulas for comparing companies in different industries.

Calumet Specialty Products Partners (Nasdaq:CLMT) has moved up 3.4% and is currently trading at $28.55 per share. The company is trading at a volume of 317,416 shares. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is. 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. One of the favorite tools of many value investors is analyzing price/book value ratios, as it provides a measure of the underlying value of a company's assets as compared to the valuation of its equity. CLMT's stock is trading for more than its book value with a P/B ratio of 1.86. This implies that investors expect management to create more value from a given set of assets and/or that the market value of the firm's assets is significantly higher than their accounting value. P/B has its shortcomings but is still widely used as a valuation metric, more relevant for use by investors looking at capital-intensive or finance-related businesses, such as banks; book value does not carry much meaning for service-based firms with few tangible assets. SEE: How Buybacks Warps The Price-To-Book Ratio

InterOil Corporation (NYSE:IOC) is currently trading at $81.43 per share, a 3.4% increase. The company's volume is currently 238,266 shares for the day, 0.2 times the current three-month average. Volume indicates the level of interest that investors have in a company at its current price. Looking at a company's valuation ratios is a good way of getting a basic idea as to its value as an investment. The easy-to-calculate debt ratio is helpful to investors looking for a quick take on the leverage for a company. IOC's debt ratio of 35.6% is on the low side. This indicates that the company engages in conservative financing with opportunities to borrow in the future at no significant risk. As with all financial ratios, a company's debt ratio should be compared with the industry average or similar companies.

Slipping 3.2%, BP Prudhoe Bay (NYSE:BPT) is currently trading at $105.43 per share. The company is currently trading a volume of 121,296 shares. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest. It is important for an investor to estimate the value of any potential or existing investment; valuation ratios make this easier. A price/sales ratio is derived by dividing stock market price by company sales. The P/S ratio for BPT is a high 11.89. 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 compare P/S ratios for companies in the same industry, as ratios can vary quite widely for companies in different industries.

Rising 2.7%, HollyFrontier (NYSE:HFC) is currently trading at $40.06 per share. The company's volume is currently 929,012 shares for the day, consistent with its current daily average. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. 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. The capitalizion ratio of 19.6% is on the low end. A low capitalization ratio can signify a failure to leverage equity into investment, missing valuable opportunities for growth and expansion. This ratio is considered to be one of the more meaningful of the "debt" ratios - it delivers the key insight into the use of leverage by a company.

Marathon (NYSE:MPC) is at $49.99 per share after an increase of 2.5%. The company's volume for the day so far is 1.2 million 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. 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. As with most ratios, comparisons of company price/earnings to growth ratios (PEG ratios) are most appropriate for similar companies. PEG ratio for MPC is consistent with the industry average at 0.93. 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.

The Bottom Line The nature of the market is such that stocks will have good days and bad days. It is important to weigh current activity against historical performance when making any investment decisions. 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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