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Tickers in this Article: PSA, GOV, JLL, RWT, DLR, AAT, RPAI
The morning has been bad for the market. The Nasdaq is down 0.2%; the S&P 500 has declined 0.3%; and the Dow has decreased 0.2%.

The Real Estate Operations sector (IYR) is currently lagging behind the overall market, down 0.5%, and its current biggest movers are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Public Storage (NYSE:PSA).94 billion-2.4%
Government Properties (NYSE:GOV).03 billion+2.2%
Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE:JLL).16 billion-2.1%
Redwood Trust (NYSE:RWT).1 billion+2%
Digital Realty Trust (NYSE:DLR).34 billion-1.6%
American Assets Trust (NYSE:AAT).03 billion+1.6%
Retail Properties of America (NYSE:RPAI).39 billion+1.3%
Broker Summary: Fidelity Online Brokerage

Public Storage (NYSE:PSA) has decreased to $141.96 per share, a 2.4% fall. So far today, the company's volume is 308,284 shares. Volume indicates the level of interest that investors have in a company at its current price. 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. PSA's P/B ratio of 4.81 shows that its share price is higher than its book value. This high share price relative to asset value is likely to indicate that the company has been earning a very high return on its assets. To put things in perspective, should be made among companies in the same industry rather than across industries. SEE: Using The Price-To-Book Ratio To Evaluate Companies

Government Properties (NYSE:GOV) is at $22.45 per share after an increase of 2.2%. With 395,477 shares changing hands so far today, the company's volume is 0.8 times its average over the past three months. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is. 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 dividend yield is measured by taking the annual dividends per share and dividing that number by the stock price. GOV's dividend yield is 7.6%. Simply comparing the level of dividends that two stocks pay does not give a true reflection of which security is more attractive, so investors calculate the dividend yield in order to standardize dividend payments. SEE: Guide To Stock-Picking Strategies: Income Investing

Falling 2.1%, Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE:JLL) is currently at a share price of $70.30. So far today, 83,031 shares of the company's stock have changed hands. At this rate, trading activity will likely be down from yesterday when 224,858 shares changed hands. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. 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. In a nutshell, the price/sales ratio shows how much Wall Street values every dollar of the company's sales. JLL's P/S ratio of 0.81 is fairly low. A company with a lower P/S ratio is generally considered more attractive, since investors are paying less for each dollar of sales. 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.

Redwood Trust (NYSE:RWT) has risen 2% and is currently trading at $14.09 per share. At 187,337 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.3 times its current daily average. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it. Investors can use valuation ratios as tools to estimate what kind of deal a particular investment is. 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). RWT's PEG ratio is 14.5. Because of the adjustment for earnings growth rate, the PEG ratio is somewhat more useful than many formulas for comparing companies in different industries.

Digital Realty Trust (NYSE:DLR) is down 1.6% to reach $75.37 per share. So far today, 381,561 shares have changed hands. 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. Investment valuation ratios can be very useful in estimating whether a stock price is too high, reasonable or a bargain investment opportunity. 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. DLR has a D/E ratio of 165%, which is relatively high. Companies in capital-intensive industries usually have higher D/E ratios because they need to buy more property, plants, and equipment to operate. The D/E ratio is not a pure measurement of a company's debt because it includes operational liabilities in total liabilities.

American Assets Trust (NYSE:AAT) has increased to a share price of $26.73, a 1.6% rise. At 53,247 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.4 times the current three-month average. 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. It is important for an investor to estimate the value of any potential or existing investment; valuation ratios make this easier. The easy-to-calculate debt ratio is helpful to investors looking for a quick take on the leverage for a company. AAT's debt ratio of 64.1% is fairly high. As such, the company is highly leveraged and not highly liquid. As with all financial ratios, a company's debt ratio should be compared with the industry average or similar companies.

Retail Properties of America (NYSE:RPAI) has risen 1.3% to hit a current price of $10.48 per share. The company's volume is currently 94,847 shares. At this rate, trading activity will likely be down from yesterday when 317,961 shares 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. When estimating the value of a particular investment, valuation ratios provide a good basis for assessing the value of an individual stock. 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. RPAI has a P/B ratio of 1.03 which 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. 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: How Buybacks Warps The Price-To-Book Ratio

The Bottom Line On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. 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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