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Tickers in this Article: ALEX, TK, HOS, ALGT, SWFT, AAWW, KNX
It's been a good morning for the market. The Nasdaq has climbed 0.7%; the S&P 500 is trading up 1%; and the Dow has increased 1.1%. The transportation sector is a category of stocks relating to the transportation of goods or customers. It is made up of airlines, railroads and trucking companies. The performance of the transportation sector is sensitive to the price of oil. Because operations revolve around the use of vehicles, fuel prices represent a significant cost to transportation companies. As the price of oil rises, transportation companies will be expected to earn less. Inversely, these companies do well when the cost of fuel decreases.

Underperforming the market overall, the Transportation sector (IYT) is up 0.5%, and these are its current biggest movers:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Alexander & Baldwin (NYSE:ALEX)$1.25 billion-3.1%
Teekay (NYSE:TK)$2.16 billion+3%
Hornbeck Offshore Services (NYSE:HOS)$1.3 billion+2.7%
Allegiant Travel (Nasdaq:ALGT)$1.22 billion+2.6%
Swift Transportation (NYSE:SWFT)$1.2 billion-2.2%
Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (Nasdaq:AAWW)$1.37 billion+1.7%
Knight (NYSE:KNX)$1.14 billion-1.6%
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Alexander & Baldwin (NYSE:ALEX) has decreased to $28.62 per share, a 3.1% fall. At 98,816 shares, the company's volume so far today is consistent with its current daily average. Volume indicates the level of interest that investors have in a company at its current price. 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 capitalization ratio is calculated by dividing long-term debt by the sum of long-term debt and shareholders' equity. The capitalizion ratio of 20.3% is on the low end. A low capitalization ratio can signify a failure to leverage equity into investment, missing valuable opportunities for growth and expansion. This ratio is considered to be one of the more meaningful of the "debt" ratios - it delivers the key insight into the use of leverage by a company.

Teekay (NYSE:TK) has risen 3% to hit a current price of $32.15 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 236,488 shares. Volume is an important indicator because it indicates how significant a price 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 price/book value ratio is especially important for value investors as it can provide an indication of the true value of a company's assets at a time when its business model may be failing. The P/B ratio for TK is 1.66, indicating that the stock is trading for more 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. 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

After an increase of 2.7%, Hornbeck Offshore Services (NYSE:HOS) has reached a current price of $37.65. At 154,258 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.2 times the average volume over the last three months. 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. A price/sales ratio is derived by dividing stock market price by company sales. HOS has a high P/S ratio of 2.85. This could be a good sign if the share price increases. 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.

Allegiant Travel (Nasdaq:ALGT) is currently trading at $65 per share, a 2.6% increase. The company is trading at a volume of 18,653 shares. This is on pace to fall short of yesterday's volume of 66,830 shares. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock 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. There are generally two price/earnings ratios calculated: the first, called the trailing Price/Earnings ratio, is calculated using the previous years actual earnings; the second, called forward Price/Earnings ratio, is calculated using the next year's estimated earnings. ALGT's P/E ratio of 18.3 falls below the industry average of 47.89. Companies with low P/E ratios may find it easier to surprise the market to the upside, even if their financial performance is not as strong as that of companies with high P/E ratios. 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

Swift Transportation (NYSE:SWFT) has fallen 2.2% and is currently trading at $8.43 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 787,661 shares, 0.3 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. The debt-equity (D/E) ratio compares the total liabilities for a company to its total shareholder equity. SWFT's D/E ratio of 1101% is on the high side. Generally, a high D/E ratio means that the company may have difficulty generating enough cash to pay off its debts. 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.

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (Nasdaq:AAWW) has increased to a share price of $52.51, a 1.7% rise. The company is currently trading a volume of 59,870 shares. Volume is also used as a secondary indicator to help confirm what the price movement is suggesting. 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 measures the debt component of the capital structure, or capitalization of a company (i.e., the sum of long-term debt liabilities and shareholder equity) to support operations and growth. AAWW's capitalization ratio is 40.5%. 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.

Knight (NYSE:KNX) is currently trading at a share price of $14.07, a 1.6% decline. With 355,039 shares changing hands so far today, the company's volume is consistent with its current three-month average. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. Investors can make use of valuation ratios to estimate whether a stock is fairly valued. 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). KNX's PEG ratio of 1.2 is in line with the industry average. While P/E ratios are important indicators of market value, a high P/E in and of itself is not bad because it may indicate a company whose earnings are growing very rapidly, so many investors look at the PEG ratio in order to get an idea of whether or not a particular P/E ratio is justified by underlying earnings growth.

The Bottom Line No matter the economic climate, Wall Street will always have stocks that make major moves each week. 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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