The Nasdaq has moved little, the S&P 500 has decreased 0.1% and the Dow is down 0.5% after the morning's trading.

While the market overall has shown little change, the Real Estate Operations sector (IYR) is up 0.5% and its current biggest movers are:

Company Market Cap Percentage Change
Forestar Group (NYSE:FOR) $572.2 million +6.6%
Zillow (Nasdaq:Z) $1.36 billion -5.1%
Urstadt Biddle Properties (NYSE:UBA) $607.6 million -4.5%
Urstadt Biddle Properties (NYSE:UBP) $570.3 million -4.2%
Capstead (NYSE:CMO) $1.32 billion -2.5%
DuPont Fabros Technology (NYSE:DFT) $1.57 billion -1.9%
Parkway Properties (NYSE:PKY) $542.3 million -1.7%

Broker Summary: OptionsXpress Online Trading Platform

Forestar Group (NYSE:FOR) has risen 6.6% to hit a current price of $17.59 per share. At 94,848 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.8 times the current daily average. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest. Investors can use valuation ratios as tools to estimate what kind of deal a particular investment is. One of the most important estimates of stock market valuation is the price/earnings ratio (P/E ratio). FOR's P/E ratio of 34.7 is above the industry average of 0.43. 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: Investment Valuation Ratios: Price/Earnings Ratio

At $38.73, Zillow (Nasdaq:Z) has slipped 5.1%. So far today, the company's volume is 3.5 million shares. 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 assumption with high price/earnings stocks (generally of the growth variety) is that investors are willing to buy at a high price because they believe that the stock has significant growth potential, and the price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio helps investors determine the degree of reliability of that growth assumption. Z has a PEG ratio of 14.58. Because of the adjustment for earnings growth rate, the PEG ratio is somewhat more useful than many formulas for comparing companies in different industries.

Urstadt Biddle Properties (NYSE:UBA) is currently trading at a share price of $19.47, a 4.5% decline. The company's volume for the day so far is 532,102 shares, 6.2 times its current three-month 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. A company's value as an investment is more easily estimated using valuation ratios such as 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. 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. UBA's P/B ratio of 2.48 shows that its share price is higher than its book value. This may be a sign that the company is overvalued. 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: Investment Valuation Ratios: Price/Book Value Ratio

Urstadt Biddle Properties (NYSE:UBP) is down 4.2% to reach $18.32 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 3,247 shares. Yesterday, volume was only 600 shares. Volume is an important indicator because it indicates how significant a price shift is. 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. Dividend yield measures the income that a stock will generate for an investor. UBP has a dividend yield of 4.7%. It is important to remember that dividends are only one component of a stock's return and capital appreciation (or decline) must also be considered when evaluating a security. SEE: Due Diligence On Dividends

Currently trading at $13.10 per share, Capstead (NYSE:CMO) has fallen 2.5%. So far today, the company's volume is 2.5 million shares, 1.5 times the average daily volume. 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. A company's investment value can be estimated using valuation ratios such as 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 price by its revenues. CMO's P/S ratio of 5.23 is on the high side. In young companies, a high P/S ratio is a sign of sales growth that is expected to turn into earnings and cash flow. All things being equal, a low P/S ratio is good news for investors, while a very high one can be a warning sign.

DuPont Fabros Technology (NYSE:DFT) has decreased to $24.36 per share, a 1.9% fall. The company is currently trading a volume of 546,485 shares. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is. 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 debt ratio gives users a quick measure of the amount of debt that the company has on its balance sheets compared to its assets. DFT has a debt ratio of 52.8%. 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.

Parkway Properties (NYSE:PKY) is trading at $12.94 per share, down 1.7%. With 144,466 shares changing hands so far today, the company's volume is consistent with its average over the last three months. If a stock price makes a big move up or down, volume lets us know the significance of that move. Investment valuation ratios can be very useful in estimating whether a stock price is too high, reasonable or a bargain investment opportunity. The debt-equity (D/E) ratio is a leverage ratio. The D/E ratio for PKY is 221%. This shows that the company's assets are financed primarily through debt. 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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