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Tickers in this Article: THR, FSLR, AVGO, QIHU, LFUS, CPHD, MSI
So far today, the Nasdaq has been relatively flat, the S&P 500 is down 0.3% and the Dow is unchanged. The technology sector is a category of stocks relating to the research, development and/or distribution of technologically based goods and services. This sector contains businesses revolving around the manufacturing of electronics, creation of software, computers or products and services relating to information technology. The technology sector offers a wide arrange of products and services for both customers and other businesses. Consumer goods like personal computers, stereos and televisions are continually improved and upgraded, offering the latest technology to all users. Businesses receive information and services from software and database systems, which allow the companies to make strategic business decisions.

While the market overall has shown little change, the Technology sector (XLK) is up 0.1% and its current biggest movers are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Thermon Group Holdings (NYSE:THR)$767.9 million+8.1%
First Solar (Nasdaq:FSLR)$2.01 billion-5.6%
Avago (Nasdaq:AVGO)$8.61 billion+5.6%
QIHOO 360 (NYSE:QIHU)$2.95 billion-4.6%
Littelfuse (Nasdaq:LFUS)$1.2 billion+4.3%
Cepheid (Nasdaq:CPHD)$2.59 billion+3.9%
Motorola (NYSE:MSI)$14.26 billion+3.9%
Software Summary: Finviz.com Stock Screener

Thermon Group Holdings (NYSE:THR) is up 8.1% to reach a current price of $24.26 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 3.9 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. 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 price/sales ratio is used for spotting recovery situations or for double-checking that a company's growth has not become overvalued. The P/S ratio for THR is 2.32, which is relatively high. In young companies, a high P/S ratio is a sign of sales growth that is expected to turn into earnings and cash flow. All things being equal, a low P/S ratio is good news for investors, while a very high one can be a warning sign.

First Solar (Nasdaq:FSLR) has fallen 5.6% and is currently trading at $21.31 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 4.3 million shares, consistent with its current daily average. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is. 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 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. FSLR has a fairly low capitalization ratio of 12.3%. Investors generally consider a company with low debt and high equity levels is a good quality investment. A low level of debt and a healthy proportion of equity in a company's capital structure is an indication of financial fitness.

Avago (Nasdaq:AVGO) is at $35.62 per share after an increase of 5.6%. So far today, the company's volume is 2.5 million shares. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it. Valuation ratios like 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 are useful in determining how attractive a potential or existing investment is. Dividend yield measures the income that a stock will generate for an investor. AVGO has a low dividend yield of 1.8%. A company with a low dividend yield may be a safer investment in the long run. To calculate the dividend yield, divide the level of dividends by the stock price; the higher the yield, the more attractive the security. SEE: Investment Valuation Ratios: Dividend Yield

At $23.61, QIHOO 360 (NYSE:QIHU) has slipped 4.6%. The company's volume for the day so far is 1.4 million shares, in keeping with its current three-month average. High volume indicates a lot of investor interest while low volume indicates the opposite. 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/book value ratio is especially important for value investors as it can provide an indication of the true value of a company's assets at a time when its business model may be failing. The P/B ratio for QIHU is 6.77, indicating that the stock is trading for more than its book value. 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. Users need to be careful when applying this ratio though, as it is more useful for industrial companies that have a lot of tangible assets than it is for technology or consumer product companies that may not have much in the way of hard assets. SEE: How Buybacks Warps The Price-To-Book Ratio

Littelfuse (Nasdaq:LFUS) has increased to a share price of $58.43, a 4.3% rise. So far today, the company's volume is 75,347 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. Investors can use valuation ratios as tools to estimate what kind of deal a particular investment is. The price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio compares a company's P/E ratio to its earnings-per-share growth rate, which tells you whether or not you are getting a good value when purchasing a stock with a high price/earnings ratio (P/E ratio). LFUS' PEG ratio of 1.51 is in line with the industry average. Because of the adjustment for earnings growth rate, the PEG ratio is somewhat more useful than many formulas for comparing companies in different industries.

Cepheid (Nasdaq:CPHD) has risen 3.9% to hit a current price of $40.41 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 249,855 shares, in keeping with its current daily average. Volume is an important indicator because it indicates how significant a price shift is. While investment valuation ratios are useful tools in estimating the attractiveness of an investment, remember that it is important to look at a company's historical performance and compare the company ratios with its competitors and industry overall. The debt ratio measures the leverage of a company, and a company's leverage is a good way to assess risk. CPHD has a low debt ratio of 22.6%. In other words, the company is less sensitive to changes in business or interest rates since less of its cash flow is dedicated to paying off loan expenses. 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.

Rising 3.9%, Motorola (NYSE:MSI) is currently trading at $51.73 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 1.2 million shares. Volume is also used as a secondary indicator to help confirm what the price movement is suggesting. 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-equity (D/E) ratio is a leverage ratio. MSI has a debt-equity ratio of 48%, which is on the low side. Companies with low D/E ratios are more attractive to investors because they are better able to protect their business interests in times of decline. 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.

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. 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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