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Tickers in this Article: PXP, SPH, TGA, PTR, COG, WLL, CXO
The Nasdaq is unchanged, the S&P 500 is down 0.3% and the Dow remains relatively unchanged after the morning's trading.

The Oil and Gas Operations sector (DIG) has risen 0.5% despite little change in the market overall. Currently, the biggest movers in the sector are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Plains Exploration & Production (NYSE:PXP)$4.9 billion+2.9%
Suburban Propane Partners (NYSE:SPH)$1.91 billion+2.2%
TransGlobe Energy Corporation (Nasdaq:TGA)$869.6 million-1.8%
PetroChina Company Limited (NYSE:PTR)$234.43 billion+1.6%
Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG)$9.44 billion+1.5%
Whiting (NYSE:WLL)$5.81 billion+1.4%
Concho Resources (NYSE:CXO)$10.21 billion+1.4%
Broker Summary: Fidelity Online Brokerage

Plains Exploration & Production (NYSE:PXP) is currently trading at $39.66 per share, a 2.9% increase. The company's volume is currently 2.1 million shares for the day, 0.4 times its current three-month 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. Understanding investment valuation ratios allows an investor to assess the true value of an individual stock. The debt-equity (D/E) ratio compares the total liabilities for a company to its total shareholder equity. PXP has a high D/E ratio of 118%. Companies with high D/E ratios may have difficulty attracting additional investment capital. The D/E ratio percentage provides a much more dramatic perspective on a company's leverage position than the debt ratio percentage.

Increasing 2.2%, Suburban Propane Partners (NYSE:SPH) is trading at $40.50 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 219,549 shares. This is on pace to reach yesterday's trading volume of 404,362 shares. If a stock price moves on high volume, this means that the change is a significant one. It is important for an investor to estimate the value of any potential or existing investment; valuation ratios make this easier. When used consistently and uniformly, the price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio is an essential tool that adds dimension to the price/earnings ratio, allows comparisons across diverse industries and is always on the lookout for value. PEG ratio for SPH is 16.1. 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.

TransGlobe Energy Corporation (Nasdaq:TGA) has fallen 1.8% and is currently trading at $11.50 per share. At 14,024 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.1 times the current daily average. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it. 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 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 TGA is 2.15, indicating that the stock is trading for more 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. All else being equal, a stock with a low P/B value ratio is more attractive than a stock with a high ratio. SEE: Using The Price-To-Book Ratio To Evaluate Companies

PetroChina Company Limited (NYSE:PTR) has moved up 1.6% and is currently trading at $131.40 per share. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 49,375 shares. Volume indicates the level of interest that investors have in a company at its current price. 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 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. PTR's dividend yield is 3.3%. High dividend yields are generally more important to value investors, investors in larger companies, and income oriented investors than they are to growth investors, investors in small cap stocks, and investors in new or emerging companies. SEE: Investment Valuation Ratios: Dividend Yield

Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG) has risen 1.5% and is currently trading at $44.88 per share. At 808,472 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.3 times the average volume over the last three months. Volume is also used as a secondary indicator to help confirm what the price movement is suggesting. Investment valuation ratios provide investors with an estimation, albeit a simplistic one, of the value of a stock. Perhaps one of the most widely-used stock analysis tools is the price-to-earnings ratio, or P/E. Compared to the industry average of 16.77, COG's P/E ratio of 85.8 is quite high. This could mean that the market is expecting big things over the next few months or years. 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: The P/E Ratio: A Good Market-Timing Indicator

After rising 1.4%, Whiting (NYSE:WLL) is currently trading at a share price of $49.48. So far today, the company's volume is 926,735 shares. This is on pace to fall short of yesterday's volume of three million shares. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is. Understanding investment valuation ratios allows an investor to assess the true value of an individual stock. The easy-to-calculate debt ratio is helpful to investors looking for a quick take on the leverage for a company. WLL has a debt ratio of 49.7%, which is fairly low. 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.

Concho Resources (NYSE:CXO) has risen 1.4% to hit a current price of $98.84 per share. At 347,102 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.3 times the average daily volume. 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. 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 measures a company's stock market value by its total revenues or alternatively, a company's price per share by its revenue per share. CXO's P/S ratio of 4.74 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.

The Bottom Line The nature of the market is such that stocks will have good days and bad days. Paying close attention to the previous ratios will help you identify key times to adjust your strategy. However, these fundamental metrics must be analyzed with historic data, industry information in addition to firm specific financial statements.

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