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Tickers in this Article: AMRN, MAKO, SNY, BRLI, ALGN, DVA, FMS
The Nasdaq has increased 0.3%, the S&P 500 has risen 0.6% and the Dow has moved up 0.7% on a good day for the market so far. The healthcare sector is the category of stocks relating to medical and healthcare goods or services. This sector includes hospital management firms, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), biotechnology and a variety of medical products. Stocks in the healthcare sector are often considered to be defensive because the products and services are essential. Even during economic downturns, people will still require medical aid and medicine to overcome illness. Having a consistent demand for goods and services makes this sector less sensitive to business cycle fluctuations.

The Healthcare sector (XLV) is up 0.3%, underperforming the market overall. The biggest movers in the sector are currently:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Amarin Corporation plc (Nasdaq:AMRN)$2.14 billion-5.6%
MAKO (Nasdaq:MAKO)$753.7 million+4.4%
Sanofi SA (NYSE:SNY)$110.24 billion+3.8%
Bio-Reference Laboratories (Nasdaq:BRLI)$764.5 million+3%
Align Technology (Nasdaq:ALGN)$3.05 billion+2.4%
DaVita (NYSE:DVA)$9.31 billion-1.7%
Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co (NYSE:FMS)$21.61 billion+1.6%
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Amarin Corporation plc (Nasdaq:AMRN) is down 5.6% to reach $13.61 per share. So far today, 5.1 million shares have changed hands. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. Investment valuation ratios can be very useful in determining the value of a stock, but it is very important to keep in mind that while some financial ratios have general rules (or a broad application), in most instances it is a prudent practice to look at a company's historical performance and use peer company/industry comparisons to put any given company's ratio in perspective. The price/book value ratio, often expressed simply as "price-to-book", provides investors a way to compare the market value, or what they are paying for each share, to a conservative measure of the value of the firm. The P/B ratio for AMRN is 340.25, indicating that the stock is trading for more 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: Investment Valuation Ratios: Price/Book Value Ratio

After rising 4.4%, MAKO (Nasdaq:MAKO) is currently trading at a share price of $18.44. The company's volume is currently 888,385 shares for the day, consistent with its current three-month average. Volume is an important indicator because it indicates how significant a price shift is. Investors can make use of valuation ratios to estimate whether a stock is fairly valued. While measuring a price/earnings ratio (P/E ratio) is a popular valuation technique, the measure cannot be calculated for companies without earnings, so some investors analyze the price/sales ratio. MAKO has a high P/S ratio of 11.23. 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.

Sanofi SA (NYSE:SNY) has moved up 3.8% and is currently trading at $43.27 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 1.9 million shares. This is greater than yesterday's volume of 1.1 million shares. 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. It is important for an investor to estimate the value of any potential or existing investment; valuation ratios make this easier. The debt ratio shows the proportion of assets that a company is financing through debt. SNY has a low debt ratio of 44.8%. A low debt ratio means the company has more available cash flow. As with all financial ratios, a company's debt ratio should be compared with the industry average or similar companies.

Bio-Reference Laboratories (Nasdaq:BRLI) is currently trading at $28.44 per share, a 3% increase. The company's volume is currently 121,895 shares for the day, 0.3 times the current daily average. High volume indicates a lot of investor interest while low volume indicates the opposite. 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. The debt-equity (D/E) ratio is a measurement of how much suppliers, lenders, creditors and obligors have committed to the company versus what the shareholders have committed. BRLI has a low debt-equity ratio of 11%. A low D/E ratio may be a sign that the company is not taking advantage of leverage to increase its profits. 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.

Rising 2.4%, Align Technology (Nasdaq:ALGN) is currently trading at $38.37 per share. The company is currently trading a volume of 400,833 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. 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/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio can reveal value what price/earnings (P/E) ratios alone may not so that if a company has a high P/E ratio (an indication that its stock is overpriced) but its earnings are growing very quickly, the PEG ratio may reveal that the company is actually fairly valued, or perhaps even a bargain. ALGN's PEG ratio is 1.92. Because of the adjustment for earnings growth rate, the PEG ratio is somewhat more useful than many formulas for comparing companies in different industries.

Slipping 1.7%, DaVita (NYSE:DVA) is currently trading at $96.81 per share. With 471,417 shares changing hands so far today, the company's volume is 0.7 times the current three-month average. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that 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/book value ratio is one of the more common methods of determining whether a stock is fairly valued. DVA's stock is trading for more than its book value with a P/B ratio of 3.85. 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. 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: How Buybacks Warps The Price-To-Book Ratio

Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co (NYSE:FMS) is at $73.03 per share after an increase of 1.6%. The company's volume is currently 17,807 shares. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it. 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. Perhaps one of the most widely-used stock analysis tools is the price-to-earnings ratio, or P/E. Relative to the industry P/E ratio of 40.94, FMS' 17.6 is low. A low P/E ratio may indicate that the market expects relatively slower earnings growth. 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: How To Find P/E And PEG Ratios

The Bottom Line On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. Daily stock performance should be weighed against historical performance and put in context of the market overall. 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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