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Tickers in this Article: CRK, SDT, LPI, RRMS, CVE, QEP, COG
Currently, the Nasdaq remains relatively unchanged, the S&P 500 has fallen 0.1% and the Dow has decreased 0.5%.

The Oil and Gas Operations sector (DIG) has fallen 0.1% despite little change in the market overall. The biggest movers in the sector so far are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Comstock Resources (NYSE:CRK)$928.1 million+5.4%
Sandridge Mississippian Trust (NYSE:SDT)$689.9 million-4.1%
Laredo Petroleum Holdings (NYSE:LPI)$2.85 billion-2.8%
Rose Rock (NYSE:RRMS)$520.2 million+2.4%
Cenovus Energy Inc (NYSE:CVE)$26.54 billion+2.2%
QEP Resources (NYSE:QEP)$5.7 billion+2.1%
Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG)$9.6 billion-1.9%
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Comstock Resources (NYSE:CRK) is currently trading at $20.31 per share, a 5.4% increase. The company's volume for the day so far is 1.1 million shares, 0.8 times its current three-month average. Volume is an important indicator because it indicates how significant a price shift is. 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. 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 CRK is 0.94 because the stock is trading for less than its book value. This could mean that either the market believes the asset value is overstated, or the company is earning a very poor (even negative) return on its assets. All else being equal, a stock with a low P/B value ratio is more attractive than a stock with a high ratio. SEE: Investment Valuation Ratios: Price/Book Value Ratio

Currently trading at $23.64 per share, Sandridge Mississippian Trust (NYSE:SDT) has fallen 4.1%. So far today, the company's volume is 559,671 shares. 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 price/sales ratio measures a company's stock market price by its revenues. SDT's P/S ratio of 9.93 is on the high side. This could be a good sign if the share price increases. 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 2.8%, Laredo Petroleum Holdings (NYSE:LPI) is currently trading at $21.59 per share. The company's volume is currently 106,467 shares for the day, 0.6 times the average daily volume. 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 measures the leverage of a company, and a company's leverage is a good way to assess risk. LPI has a debt ratio of 61.1%, which is on the high side. 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.

After rising 2.4%, Rose Rock (NYSE:RRMS) is currently trading at a share price of $31.75. So far today, the company's volume is 7,745 shares. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest. Understanding investment valuation ratios allows an investor to assess the true value of an individual stock. A company's capitalization (not to be confused with its market capitalization) is the term used to describe the makeup of a company's permanent or long-term capital, which consists of both long-term debt and shareholders' equity. RRMS' capitalization ratio is 0%, which is relatively low. Low leverage is a significant balance sheet strength, a sign of a less risky investment. A low level of debt and a healthy proportion of equity in a company's capital structure is an indication of financial fitness.

After an increase of 2.2%, Cenovus Energy Inc (NYSE:CVE) has reached a current price of $35.93. At 798,044 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.9 times the average volume over the last three months. 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. When estimating the value of a particular investment, valuation ratios provide a good basis for assessing the value of an individual stock. Dividend yield is a way to measure how much cash flow you are getting for each dollar invested in an equity position - in other words, how much "bang for your buck" you are getting from dividends. Dividend yield for CVE is 2.6%. It is important to remember that while a higher dividend yield is more attractive, all else being equal, a higher dividend yield can also indicate greater perceived risk. SEE: Investment Valuation Ratios: Dividend Yield

QEP Resources (NYSE:QEP) has increased to a share price of $32.76, a 2.1% rise. So far today, 475,595 shares have changed hands. 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. Looking at a company's valuation ratios is a good way of getting a basic idea as to its value as an investment. The P/E ratio has been used for ages by analysts and still remains one of the most relevant pieces of stock valuation. QEP has a P/E ratio of 22.0, high compared to the industry average of 16.3. Usually, if a stock has a high P/E ratio, it indicates that the market expects the company to grow earnings quickly in the future. 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: Understanding The P/E Ratio

Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG) is down 1.9% to reach $44.83 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 1.1 million shares, in line with the current daily average. High volume indicates a lot of investor interest while low volume indicates the opposite. Valuation ratios allow the investor to make a quick determination as to a company's investment value. The price/book value ratio provides a way of evaluating whether a stock is relatively cheap or expensive. COG has a P/B ratio of 4.42 which shows that its share price is higher than its book value. It is important to take the company's debt into account when using the P/B ratio as debt can boost a company's liabilities to the point where they wipe out much of the book value of its hard assets, creating artificially high P/B values. 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: Using The Price-To-Book Ratio To Evaluate Companies

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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