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Tickers in this Article: RTLX, VECO, CTRX, SYNT, MLNX, CRM, QIHU
On a bad day for the market, the Nasdaq has slipped 0.3%, the S&P 500 is trading down 0.4% and the Dow has decreased 0.5%. The technology sector is a category of stocks relating to the research, development and/or distribution of technologically based goods and services. This sector contains businesses revolving around the manufacturing of electronics, creation of software, computers or products and services relating to information technology. The technology sector offers a wide arrange of products and services for both customers and other businesses. Consumer goods like personal computers, stereos and televisions are continually improved and upgraded, offering the latest technology to all users. Businesses receive information and services from software and database systems, which allow the companies to make strategic business decisions.

The Technology sector (XLK) is down 0.2%, outperforming the market overall. Currently, the biggest movers in the sector are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Retalix Limited (Nasdaq:RTLX)$512.1 million-7.5%
Veeco Instruments Inc. (Nasdaq:VECO)$1.48 billion-6.4%
SXC Health Solutions Corp. (USA) (Nasdaq:CTRX)$9.28 billion-5.2%
Syntel, Inc. (Nasdaq:SYNT)$2.51 billion-4.3%
Mellanox Technologies, Ltd. (Nasdaq:MLNX)$4.66 billion-3.8% (NYSE:CRM)$19.3 billion+3.2%
QIHOO 360 Technology Co. Ltd. (NYSE:QIHU)$1.94 billion+2.9%
Beginner's Guide To

After a decline of 7.5%, Retalix (Nasdaq:RTLX) has hit a share price of $19.23. So far today, the company's volume is 1,683 shares. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is. While investment valuation ratios are useful tools in estimating the attractiveness of an investment, remember that it is important to look at a company's historical performance and compare the company ratios with its competitors and industry overall. Price/earnings ratios (P/E ratios) provide a measure of the relative value of a stock. RTLX's P/E ratio of 35.2 falls below the industry average of 74.73. A low P/E might arise due to substantial inherent risk of the firm and its operations, poor return on equity, or improper valuation of the market. To determine the P/E ratio, an investor divides the market price of the stock by the earnings-per-share (EPS) of the stock. SEE: Understanding The P/E Ratio

Currently trading at $35.34 per share, Veeco Instruments (Nasdaq:VECO) has fallen 6.4%. The company's volume is currently 515,470 shares for the day, in line with the current daily average. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it. Looking at a company's valuation ratios is a good way of getting a basic idea as to its value as an investment. Using price/earnings ratios (P/E ratios) does not give an indication of whether or not an individual company's ratio is reasonable, a shortcoming that can be corrected by using the price/earnings to growth ratio (PEG ratio). VECO's PEG ratio is 1.17. Because of the adjustment for earnings growth rate, the PEG ratio is somewhat more useful than many formulas for comparing companies in different industries.

SXC Health Solutions Corp (Nasdaq:CTRX) is down 5.2% to reach $85.95 per share. The company is trading at a volume of 396,413 shares. This is on pace to reach yesterday's trading volume of 836,519 shares. If a stock price moves on high volume, this means that the change is a significant one. When estimating the value of a particular investment, valuation ratios provide a good basis for assessing the value of an individual stock. The price/book value ratio is calculated by dividing the current stock price by the company's book value per share. CTRX's P/B ratio of 6.95 shows that its share price is higher than its book value. This may be a sign that the company is overvalued. A weakness of the P/B value ratio is that while the price component is easily determined by looking at the stock quote, the book value component is more difficult to estimate and more open to individual interpretation and analysis. SEE: Using The Price-To-Book Ratio To Evaluate Companies

Syntel (Nasdaq:SYNT) has fallen 4.3% and is currently trading at $57.37 per share. The company's volume is currently 103,207 shares for the day, 1.3 times its current three-month average. Volume is an important indicator because it indicates how significant a price 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. Dividend yield measures the income that a stock will generate for an investor. SYNT's dividend yield of 0.4% is fairly low. A company with a low dividend yield may be a safer investment in the long run. A higher dividend yield may indicate a risk of a fall in the price of the security, or a cut in the level of dividend payments, either of which would have the effect of dropping future returns. SEE: Due Diligence On Dividends

At $107.82, Mellanox (Nasdaq:MLNX) has slipped 3.8%. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 450,008 shares. 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 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. 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 MLNX is a high 7.91. This could be a good sign if the share price increases. 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.

Increasing 3.2%, (NYSE:CRM) is trading at $144.37 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 2.1 million shares, 0.8 times the average daily volume. Volume is an important indicator because it indicates how significant a price shift is. Investment valuation ratios can be very useful in estimating whether a stock price is too high, reasonable or a bargain investment opportunity. The debt ratio measures the leverage of a company, and a company's leverage is a good way to assess risk. CRM has a debt ratio of 56.5%. 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.

QIHOO 360 (NYSE:QIHU) has increased to a share price of $17.32, a 2.9% rise. The company's volume for the day so far is 611,649 shares. Yesterday's volume was only 493,939 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. 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 most important estimates of stock market valuation is the price/earnings ratio (P/E ratio). The P/E ratio for QIHU is 124.5, above the industry average of 1.27. This could mean that the market is expecting big things over the next few months or years. A high or low P/E ratio is not good or bad in and of itself, but a company trading with a high P/E ratio must continue to post strong financial performance or its stock price is likely to fall. SEE: Profit With The Power Of Price-To-Earnings

The Bottom Line On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. It is important to weigh current activity against historical performance when making any investment decisions. 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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