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Tickers in this Article: GPOR, DK, APU, TSO, IOC, SPH, SM
The morning has been good for the market. The Nasdaq is trading up 0.1%; the S&P 500 has moved up 0.2%; and the Dow has increased 0.3%. The energy sector is the category of stocks that relate to producing or supplying energy. This sector includes companies involved in the exploration and development of oil or gas reserves, oil and gas drilling, or integrated power firms. Performance in the sector is largely driven by the supply and demand for worldwide energy. Energy producers will do very well during times of high oil and gas prices, but will earn less when the value of energy drops. Furthermore, this sector is sensitive to political events, which historically have driven changes in the price of oil.

Outperforming the market overall, the Energy sector (XLE) is up 0.4% and its biggest movers so far today are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Gulfport Energy Corporation (Nasdaq:GPOR)$1.25 billion+18.2%
Delek US Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:DK)$1.27 billion+7.9%
AmeriGas Partners, L.P. (NYSE:APU)$3.91 billion-5.2%
Tesoro (NYSE:TSO)$4.81 billion+4%
InterOil Corporation (USA) (NYSE:IOC)$4.18 billion+3.6%
Suburban Propane Partners, L.P. (NYSE:SPH)$1.43 billion-3.5%
SM Energy Co. (NYSE:SM)$2.96 billion+3.3%
Broker Summary: Charles Schwab Online Brokerage

After a big jump of 18.2%, Gulfport (Nasdaq:GPOR) is trading at $26.55 per share. So far today, 1.8 million shares have changed hands. 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. Investors can make use of valuation ratios to estimate whether a stock is fairly valued. The price/sales ratio measures a company's stock market price by its revenues. GPOR has a high P/S ratio of 6.56. 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.

After rising 7.9%, Delek US Holdings (NYSE:DK) is currently trading at a share price of $23.50. At 332,610 shares, the company's volume so far today is one times its average over the past three months. If a stock price makes a big move up or down, volume lets us know the significance of that move. Investors can use valuation ratios as tools to estimate what kind of deal a particular investment is. The easy-to-calculate debt ratio is helpful to investors looking for a quick take on the leverage for a company. DK has a high debt ratio of 69.5%. This means that most of the company's assets are financed through debt. 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.

At $39.90, AmeriGas Partners (NYSE:APU) has slipped 5.2%. So far this morning, 147,242 shares have changed hands. This is 1.1 times the average daily volume. 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. The debt-equity (D/E) ratio is a leverage ratio. APU's D/E ratio of 136% is on the high side. Companies with high D/E ratios may have difficulty attracting additional investment capital. 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 4%, Tesoro (NYSE:TSO) is currently trading at $35.77 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 2.8 million shares, while it was 7.4 million shares yesterday. Volume is also used as a secondary indicator to help confirm what the price movement is suggesting. Looking at a company's valuation ratios is a good way of getting a basic idea as to its value as an investment. 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. TSO has a fairly low capitalization ratio of 24.7%. A very low capitalization ratio might be a sign that the company is stagnating and reducing the potential earnings for shareholders. A low level of debt and a healthy proportion of equity in a company's capital structure is an indication of financial fitness.

InterOil Corporation (NYSE:IOC) has moved up 3.6% and is currently trading at $89.92 per share. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 337,244 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 P/E ratio has been used for ages by analysts and still remains one of the most relevant pieces of stock valuation. Compared to the industry average of 35.93, IOC's P/E ratio of 163.8 is quite high. This could mean that the market is expecting big things over the next few months or years. A high P/E ratio indicates a stock that is expensive, while a low P/E ratio indicates a stock that is cheap. SEE: Profit With The Power Of Price-To-Earnings

Currently trading at $38.78 per share, Suburban Propane Partners (NYSE:SPH) has fallen 3.5%. The company's volume is currently 272,519 shares for the day, 1.7 times the current three-month average. 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. Investment valuation ratios can be very useful in estimating whether a stock price is too high, reasonable or a bargain investment opportunity. The price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio compares a company's P/E ratio to its earnings-per-share growth rate, which tells you whether or not you are getting a good value when purchasing a stock with a high price/earnings ratio (P/E ratio). SPH's PEG ratio is 21.1. Because of the adjustment for earnings growth rate, the PEG ratio is somewhat more useful than many formulas for comparing companies in different industries.

SM (NYSE:SM) is currently trading at $46.94 per share, a 3.3% increase. So far today, the company's volume is 284,883 shares. This is 0.2 times the current daily average. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock 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. 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. SM's stock is trading for more than its book value with a P/B ratio of 2.0. 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: Investment Valuation Ratios: Price/Book Value Ratio

The Bottom Line On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. Paying close attention to the previous ratios will help you identify key times to adjust your strategy. However, these fundamental metrics must be analyzed with historic data, industry information in addition to firm specific financial statements.

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