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Tickers in this Article: NRGY, BRY, COG, SM, TGA, RRC, VLO
The market has been slipping so far today. The Nasdaq is trading down 0.2%; the S&P 500 is down 0.3%; and the Dow has slipped 0.2%.

The Oil and Gas Operations sector (DIG) is currently lagging behind the overall market, down 1.1%, and its current biggest movers are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Inergy (NYSE:NRGY)$2.6 billion+4.5%
Berry Petroleum (NYSE:BRY)$2.15 billion-3.2%
Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG)$9.03 billion-3%
SM (NYSE:SM)$3.18 billion-2.7%
TransGlobe Energy Corporation (Nasdaq:TGA)$762.3 million+2.2%
Range (NYSE:RRC)$11.32 billion-2%
Valero (NYSE:VLO)$15.89 billion+2%
Broker Summary: Fidelity Online Brokerage

Inergy (NYSE:NRGY) has risen 4.5% to hit a current price of $20.60 per share. With 274,607 shares changing hands so far today, the company's volume is 0.7 times its current three-month average. High volume indicates a lot of investor interest while low volume indicates the opposite. 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. 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. NRGY's P/B ratio of 2.49 shows that its share price is higher 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. P/B value ratios are particularly useful to value investors, distressed or "vulture" investors, or any other investors purchasing beaten-down securities but are less useful to investors focused on growth stocks, purchasing IPOs, or investing in technology or other "asset-lite" companies. SEE: How Buybacks Warps The Price-To-Book Ratio

Berry Petroleum (NYSE:BRY) is down 3.2% to reach $38.40 per share. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 162,210 shares. Volume is an important indicator because it indicates how significant a price shift is. Investment valuation ratios provide investors with an estimation, albeit a simplistic one, of the value of a stock. The capitalization ratio is calculated by dividing long-term debt by the sum of long-term debt and shareholders' equity. The capitalization ratio for BRY is 61%, which is fairly high. A high capitalization ratio is not necessarily bad since higher financial leverage can increase the return on a shareholder's investment. This ratio is considered to be one of the more meaningful of the "debt" ratios - it delivers the key insight into the use of leverage by a company.

Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG) has fallen 3% and is currently trading at $41.68 per share. The company's volume is currently 507,108 shares for the day, lighter than yesterday's volume of 2.6 million shares. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. Investors can use valuation ratios as tools to estimate what kind of deal a particular investment is. There are generally two price/earnings ratios calculated: the first, called the trailing Price/Earnings ratio, is calculated using the previous years actual earnings; the second, called forward Price/Earnings ratio, is calculated using the next year's estimated earnings. COG's P/E ratio of 81.5 is above the industry average of 14.62. Generally speaking, the higher the P/E ratio, the higher the market expectations for a company's future performance. From the investor's perspective, a stock with a lower ratio is relatively cheaper than a stock with a higher ratio. SEE: Understanding The P/E Ratio

Currently trading at $47.40 per share, SM (NYSE:SM) has fallen 2.7%. This morning, the company's volume is 246,510 shares. This is 0.3 times its current daily average. 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. Looking at a company's valuation ratios is a good way of getting a basic idea as to its value as an investment. 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). PEG ratio for SM is 1.14. 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.

After an increase of 2.2%, TransGlobe Energy Corporation (Nasdaq:TGA) has reached a current price of $10.63. The company's volume for the day so far is 55,349 shares, in keeping with the average volume over the past three months. If a stock price makes a big move up or down, volume lets us know the significance of that move. When estimating the value of a particular investment, valuation ratios provide a good basis for assessing the 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. TGA has a debt ratio of 38%, which is fairly low. 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.

Falling 2%, Range (NYSE:RRC) is currently at a share price of $68.24. The company is currently trading a volume of 565,641 shares. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is. Investors can make use of valuation ratios to estimate whether a stock is fairly valued. The dividend yield is measured by taking the annual dividends per share and dividing that number by the stock price. RRC has a dividend yield of 0.2%, which is fairly low. This may indicate that the company's stock is overpriced. 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

After rising 2%, Valero (NYSE:VLO) is currently trading at a share price of $29.38. This morning, 3.9 million shares have been traded, on pace to reach yesterday's volume of seven 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 price/sales ratio is used for spotting recovery situations or for double-checking that a company's growth has not become overvalued. VLO has a low P/S ratio of 0.1. Coupled with high relative strength in the previous twelve months, a low P/S ratio is one of the most potent combinations of investment criteria. 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 On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. Daily stock performance should be weighed against historical performance and put in context of the market overall. Keep in mind that all these ratios should be compared against historical numbers and industry information in order to get a more complete picture.

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