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Tickers in this Article: SSS, AVB, EQR, HME, DLR, CPT, ESS
The market is on the rise this morning. The Nasdaq has moved up 1%; the S&P 500 has climbed 1.3%; and the Dow is up 1.3%.

The Real Estate Operations sector (IYR) is up 1.1%, outperforming the market overall. The biggest movers in the sector so far are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Sovran Self Storage Inc (NYSE:SSS)$1.56 billion+2%
Avalonbay Communities (NYSE:AVB)$13.95 billion+1.7%
Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR)$19.13 billion+1.6%
Home Properties, Inc. (NYSE:HME)$3.1 billion+1.5%
Digital Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE:DLR)$9.44 billion+1.5%
Camden Property Trust (NYSE:CPT)$5.58 billion+1.5%
Essex Property Trust Inc (NYSE:ESS)$5.54 billion+1.4%
Forex Broker Summary: Forex Capital Markets (FXCM)

Sovran Self Storage (NYSE:SSS) has risen 2% to hit a current price of $54.80 per share. The company is currently trading a volume of 61,234 shares. Volume indicates the level of interest that investors have in a company at its current price. Investment valuation ratios can be very useful in estimating whether a stock price is too high, reasonable or a bargain investment opportunity. The capitalization ratio is calculated by dividing long-term debt by the sum of long-term debt and shareholders' equity. SSS has a low capitalization ratio of 0.7%. Low leverage is a significant balance sheet strength, a sign of a less risky investment. The capitalization ratio is one of the more meaningful debt ratios because it focuses on the relationship of debt liabilities as a component of a company's total capital base, which is the capital raised by shareholders and lenders.

Avalonbay (NYSE:AVB) has increased to a share price of $148.81, a 1.7% rise. The company's volume is currently 261,975 shares for the day, while it was 1.1 million shares yesterday. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is. It is important for an investor to estimate the value of any potential or existing investment; valuation ratios make this easier. As with most ratios, comparisons of company price/earnings to growth ratios (PEG ratios) are most appropriate for similar companies. PEG ratio for AVB is consistent with the industry average at 2.75. Because of the adjustment for earnings growth rate, the PEG ratio is somewhat more useful than many formulas for comparing companies in different industries.

Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR) is at $64.69 per share after an increase of 1.6%. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 443,242 shares. This is 0.3 times its current three-month average. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest. 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. The price/book value ratio provides a way of evaluating whether a stock is relatively cheap or expensive. EQR's stock is trading for more than its book value with a P/B ratio of 3.46. 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. P/B value comparisons should be made among companies in the same industry rather than across industries. SEE: Using The Price-To-Book Ratio To Evaluate Companies

Home Properties (NYSE:HME) has risen 1.5% and is currently trading at $64.68 per share. The company's volume is currently 146,961 shares for the day, 0.3 times the current daily average. If a stock price makes a big move up or down, volume lets us know the significance of that move. 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. 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. HME has a dividend yield of 4.1%. To calculate the dividend yield, divide the level of dividends by the stock price; the higher the yield, the more attractive the security. SEE: Due Diligence On Dividends

Digital Realty Trust (NYSE:DLR) has moved up 1.5% and is currently trading at $78.77 per share. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 395,695 shares. 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/sales ratio is used for spotting recovery situations or for double-checking that a company's growth has not become overvalued. The P/S ratio for DLR is a high 7.21. In young companies, a high P/S ratio is a sign of sales growth that is expected to turn into earnings and cash flow. 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.

Camden (NYSE:CPT) is currently trading at $70.58 per share, a 1.5% increase. At 172,004 shares, the company's volume so far today is below yesterday's volume of 555,149 shares. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it. Understanding investment valuation ratios allows the investor to assess the true value of an individual stock. The debt ratio shows the proportion of assets that a company is financing through debt. CPT has a debt ratio of 55.2%. 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.

Rising 1.4%, Essex Property Trust (NYSE:ESS) is currently trading at $159.62 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 29,580 shares. This is 0.1 times its average volume over the past three months. High volume indicates a lot of investor interest while low volume indicates the opposite. Investors can use valuation ratios as tools to estimate what kind of deal a particular investment is. The debt-equity (D/E) ratio compares the total liabilities for a company to its total shareholder equity. ESS' D/E ratio of 169% is on the high side. Companies in capital-intensive industries usually have higher D/E ratios because they need to buy more property, plants, and equipment to operate. This easy-to-calculate ratio provides a general indication of a company's equity-liability relationship and is helpful to investors looking for a quick take on a company's leverage.

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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