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Tickers in this Article: AUQ, SCHN, ATI, CLF, PH, DOV, WLK
The market has been slipping so far today. The Nasdaq has decreased 0.2%; the S&P 500 has slipped 0.4%; and the Dow is down 0.6%. The basic materials sector is the category of stocks that accounts for companies involved with the discovery, development and processing of raw materials. This sector includes the mining and refining of metals, chemical producers and forestry products. The basic materials sector is sensitive to changes in the business cycle. Because the sector supplies materials for construction, it depends on a strong economy. This sector is also sensitive to supply and demand fluctuations because the price of raw materials, such as gold or other metals, is largely demand driven.

The Basic Materials sector (XLB) is currently lagging behind the overall market, down 1%, and its current biggest movers are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
AuRico Gold (NYSE:AUQ).81 billion+15.3%
Schnitzer Steel Industries (Nasdaq:SCHN)2.4 million-4.3%
Allegheny Technologies (NYSE:ATI).42 billion-3.5%
Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF).93 billion-2.8%
Parker-Hannifin (NYSE:PH).16 billion-2.5%
Dover (NYSE:DOV).31 billion-2.1%
Westlake (NYSE:WLK).96 billion-2.1%
Forex Broker Summary: UFXMarkets

After a big jump of 15.3%, AuRico Gold (NYSE:AUQ) is trading at $7.40 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 10.4 million shares. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is.

At $26.85, Schnitzer Steel Industries (Nasdaq:SCHN) has slipped 4.3%. At 182,864 shares, the company's volume so far today is while it was 690,755 shares yesterday. High volume indicates a lot of investor interest while low volume indicates the opposite.

Allegheny Technologies (NYSE:ATI) is currently trading at a share price of $30.84, a 3.5% decline. So far this morning, 507,986 shares have changed hands. This is 0.4 times its average daily volume. Volume is also used as a secondary indicator to help confirm what the price movement is suggesting.

Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) has fallen 2.8% and is currently trading at $40.48 per share. At 4.1 million shares, the company's volume so far today is in keeping with its current three-month average. If a stock price moves on high volume, this means that the change is a significant one.

Currently trading at $79.48 per share, Parker-Hannifin (NYSE:PH) has fallen 2.5%. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 1.1 million 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.

After a decline of 2.1%, Dover (NYSE:DOV) has hit a share price of $55.19. This morning, 2.3 million shares have been traded, consistent with the volume from yesterday on pace to finish the day below yesterday's volume of five million shares. 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.

Westlake (NYSE:WLK) has decreased to $72.92 per share, a 2.1% fall. So far today, the company's volume is 116,958 shares. This is in keeping with its current daily average. 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.

The Bottom Line No matter the economic climate, Wall Street will always have stocks that make major moves each week. Daily stock performance should be weighed against historical performance and put in context of the market overall. However, these fundamental metrics must be analyzed with historic data, industry information in addition to firm specific financial statements.

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