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Tickers in this Article: FSLR, VECO, GTAT, OVTI, IRF, MTSI, NXPI
The Nasdaq has remained steady, the S&P 500 has moved up 0.3% and the Dow has climbed 0.2% after the morning's trading.

The Semiconductors sector (XLK) is up 0.1% overall, and these are the biggest movers in the sector so far:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
First Solar (Nasdaq:FSLR)$1.95 billion+8.7%
Veeco Instruments (Nasdaq:VECO)$1.33 billion+4.1%
GT Advanced Technologies (Nasdaq:GTAT)$788 million-3.6%
OmniVision Technologies (Nasdaq:OVTI)$810 million+3.4%
International (NYSE:IRF)$1.28 billion+3.1%
M\x2FA-COM Technology Solutions (Nasdaq:MTSI)$528.2 million-2.6%
NXP (Nasdaq:NXPI)$6.19 billion-2.3%
Broker Summary: E-Trade Financial

Rising 8.7%, First Solar (Nasdaq:FSLR) is currently trading at $24.41 per share. This morning, 6.4 million shares have been traded,. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that 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. FSLR has a low debt ratio of 38.7%. A low debt ratio means the company has more available cash flow. 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.

Veeco Instruments (Nasdaq:VECO) is up 4.1% to reach a current price of $35.22 per share. The company's volume for the morning is 367,982 shares. This is in line with its current daily average. 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 price/sales ratio is used for spotting recovery situations or for double-checking that a company's growth has not become overvalued. VECO's P/S ratio of 1.83 is on the high side. This could be a good sign if the share price increases. It is important to keep in mind when looking at the P/S ratio that just because a company is generating revenues, this does not mean that the company is profitable, and in the long run, profits drive stock prices.

Slipping 3.6%, GT Advanced Technologies (Nasdaq:GTAT) is currently trading at $6.40 per share. At 1.5 million shares, the company's volume so far today is consistent with its current three-month average. If a stock price moves on high volume, this means that the change is a significant one. Valuation ratios allow the investor to make a quick determination as to a company's investment value. If the price/book value ratio of a stock is high, it may indicate that the stock is expensive, while a lower ratio may indicate that the stock is a bargain. GTAT has a P/B ratio of 2.18 which shows that its share price is higher than its book value. 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

OmniVision Technologies (Nasdaq:OVTI) has risen 3.4% to hit a current price of $15.66 per share. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 755,222 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 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. To a large degree, the debt-equity (D/E) ratio provides another vantage point on a company's leverage position, in this case, comparing total liabilities to shareholders' equity, as opposed to total assets in the debt ratio. OVTI's debt-equity ratio of 6% is on the low end. This shows that the company's assets are financed primarily through equity. The D/E ratio is not a pure measurement of a company's debt because it includes operational liabilities in total liabilities.

After an increase of 3.1%, International (NYSE:IRF) has reached a current price of $19.10. So far today, the company's volume is 114,066 shares, on pace to reach yesterday's volume of 276,263 shares. 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 P/E ratio has been used for ages by analysts and still remains one of the most relevant pieces of stock valuation. The P/E ratio for IRF is 24.4, below the industry average of 291.75. Companies with low P/E ratios may find it easier to surprise the market to the upside, even if their financial performance is not as strong as that of companies with high P/E ratios. A high or low P/E ratio is not good or bad in and of itself, but a company trading with a high P/E ratio must continue to post strong financial performance or its stock price is likely to fall. SEE: Profit With The Power Of Price-To-Earnings

M\x2FA-COM Technology Solutions (Nasdaq:MTSI) is currently trading at a share price of $11.35, a 2.6% decline. So far this morning, 91,958 shares have changed hands. This is 1.1 times the current daily average. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. Understanding investment valuation ratios allows an investor to assess the true value of an individual 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. MTSI's debt ratio is 52.2%. As with all financial ratios, a company's debt ratio should be compared with the industry average or similar companies.

NXP (Nasdaq:NXPI) has decreased to $24.39 per share, a 2.3% fall. The company's volume for the day so far is 1.1 million shares, consistent with its average over the last three months. If a stock price makes a big move up or down, volume lets us know the significance of that 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/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. The P/S ratio for NXPI is 1.42, 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.

The Bottom Line No matter the economic climate, Wall Street will always have stocks that make major moves each week. Paying close attention to the previous ratios will help you identify key times to adjust your strategy. 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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