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Tickers in this Article: GPOR, FGP, CRK, SM, DK, NS, BBG
The market is having a good day so far: the Nasdaq has risen 0.2%; the S&P 500 has increased 0.2%; and the Dow has moved up 0.3%. The energy sector is the category of stocks that relate to producing or supplying energy. This sector includes companies involved in the exploration and development of oil or gas reserves, oil and gas drilling, or integrated power firms. Performance in the sector is largely driven by the supply and demand for worldwide energy. Energy producers will do very well during times of high oil and gas prices, but will earn less when the value of energy drops. Furthermore, this sector is sensitive to political events, which historically have driven changes in the price of oil.

The Energy sector (XLE) is relatively unchanged on a good day for the market overall. So far, the biggest movers in the sector are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Gulfport (Nasdaq:GPOR)$1.43 billion+8.3%
Ferrellgas Partners (NYSE:FGP)$1.64 billion-6%
Comstock Resources (NYSE:CRK)$782.6 million+4.6%
SM (NYSE:SM)$3.11 billion+4.5%
Delek US Holdings (NYSE:DK)$1.6 billion-4.4%
NuStar Energy (NYSE:NS)$3.61 billion-4.1%
Bill (NYSE:BBG)$1.06 billion+3.5%
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Gulfport (Nasdaq:GPOR) is at $27.85 per share after an increase of 8.3%. The company's volume for the day so far is 925,873 shares, 1.1 times its current three-month average. 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. 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 is calculated by dividing long-term debt by the sum of long-term debt and shareholders' equity. GPOR's capitalization ratio is 9.2%, which is relatively low. A low capitalization ratio can signify a failure to leverage equity into investment, missing valuable opportunities for growth and expansion. A low level of debt and a healthy proportion of equity in a company's capital structure is an indication of financial fitness.

Ferrellgas Partners (NYSE:FGP) has decreased to $19.53 per share, a 6% fall. The company's volume for the day so far is 213,810 shares. This is about the same trading activity as there was yesterday. 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. Investors can use valuation ratios as tools to estimate what kind of deal a particular investment is. 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. FGP's stock is trading for more than its book value with a P/B ratio of 33.1. This may be a sign that the company is overvalued. 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: Using The Price-To-Book Ratio To Evaluate Companies

Comstock Resources (NYSE:CRK) has increased to a share price of $16.99, a 4.6% rise. So far today, the company's volume is 600,061 shares, 0.6 times the average daily volume. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is. When estimating the value of a particular investment, valuation ratios provide a good basis for assessing the value of an individual stock. 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 CRK is a high 1.76. This could be a good sign if the share price increases. All things being equal, a low P/S ratio is good news for investors, while a very high one can be a warning sign.

After rising 4.5%, SM (NYSE:SM) is currently trading at a share price of $49.84. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 363,053 shares. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it. Investment valuation ratios provide investors with an estimation, albeit a simplistic one, of the value of a stock. 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 SM is 61.8%, 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.

Slipping 4.4%, Delek US Holdings (NYSE:DK) is currently trading at $26.19 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 488,310 shares, one times its average over the past three months. 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 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 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. DK's debt-equity ratio of 19% 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. 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.

NuStar Energy (NYSE:NS) is down 4.1% to reach $48.89 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 2.7 million shares. Yesterday, volume was only 142,107 shares. If a stock price makes a big move up or down, volume lets us know the significance of that move. Investors can make use of valuation ratios to estimate whether a stock is fairly valued. The price/book value ratio is calculated by dividing the current stock price by the company's book value per share. The P/B ratio for NS is 1.44, 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. All else being equal, a stock with a low P/B value ratio is more attractive than a stock with a high ratio. SEE: How Buybacks Warps The Price-To-Book Ratio

Bill (NYSE:BBG) is up 3.5% to reach a current price of $22.84 per share. At 717,885 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.7 times its current daily average. 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. 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. A price/sales ratio is derived by dividing stock market price by company sales. BBG has a high P/S ratio of 1.36. 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.

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. However, these fundamental metrics must be analyzed with historic data, industry information in addition to firm specific financial statements.

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