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Tickers in this Article: WPRT, TM, WBC, WHR, COLM, MHK, RL
The market is currently up, with the Nasdaq up 2.2%, the S&P 500 rising 2% and the Dow climbing 1.8%. The consumer cyclical sector is a category of stocks that relies heavily on the business cycle and economic conditions. Consumer cyclicals include industries such as automotive, housing, entertainment and retail. The category can be further divided into durable and non-durable sections. Durable cyclicals include physical goods such as hardware or vehicles, while non-durables represent items like movies or hotel services. The performance of consumer cyclicals is highly related to the state of the economy. They represent goods and services that are not considered necessities, but luxurious purchases. During contractions or recessions, people have less disposable income to spend on consumer cyclicals. When the economy is expanding or booming, the sales of these goods rise as retail and leisure spending increase.

The Consumer Cyclical sector (XLY) is up 1.9%, underperforming the market overall. The biggest movers in the sector are currently:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Westport Innovations Inc. (USA) (Nasdaq:WPRT)$1.9 billion+11.2%
Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM)$120.77 billion+5%
WABCO Holdings Inc. (NYSE:WBC)$3.42 billion+4.9%
Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR)$5.18 billion+4.2%
Columbia Sportswear Company (Nasdaq:COLM)$1.7 billion+4.1%
Mohawk Industries, Inc. (NYSE:MHK)$4.55 billion+4.1%
Polo Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL)$8.49 billion+3.3%
Broker Summary: Charles Schwab Online Brokerage

Westport Innovations Inc (Nasdaq:WPRT) has soared 11.2% to reach a current price of $38.46 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 1.2 million 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. Investors can use valuation ratios as tools to estimate what kind of deal a particular investment is. 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. The debt-equity ratio of 25% is relatively low. Companies with low D/E ratios are more attractive to investors because they are better able to protect their business interests in times of decline. 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.

After rising 5%, Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM) is currently trading at a share price of $80.85. At 1.3 million shares, the company's volume so far today is 2.4 times its current daily average. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest. Valuation ratios allow the investor to make a quick determination as to a company's investment value. The price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio is calculated by dividing the price/earnings ratio by growth in earnings-per-share; the lower the PEG ratio, the more reasonably valued the security. TM's PEG ratio of 0.8 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.

WABCO Holdings (NYSE:WBC) has risen 4.9% and is currently trading at $56.11 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 222,708 shares. High volume indicates a lot of investor interest while low volume indicates the opposite. 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 is one of the more common methods of determining whether a stock is fairly valued. WBC's P/B ratio of 5.52 shows that its share price is higher 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. P/B has its shortcomings but is still widely used as a valuation metric, more relevant for use by investors looking at capital-intensive or finance-related businesses, such as banks; book value does not carry much meaning for service-based firms with few tangible assets. SEE: Using The Price-To-Book Ratio To Evaluate Companies

Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR) is up 4.2% to reach a current price of $69.67 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 544,086 shares, 0.3 times its average over the past three months. Volume is also used as a secondary indicator to help confirm what the price movement is suggesting. 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. For investors primarily interested in the income a stock can generate, the dividend yield is an important determinant of how attractive a stock is. WHR has a dividend yield of 3%. 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: Guide To Stock-Picking Strategies: Income Investing

After an increase of 4.1%, Columbia Sportswear (Nasdaq:COLM) has reached a current price of $52.37. The company is trading at a volume of 39,306 shares. This is a sign that there will be less trading activity than there was yesterday. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is. It is important for an investor to estimate the value of any potential or existing investment; valuation ratios make this easier. 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 15.72, COLM's P/E ratio of 16.9 is quite high. A company with a high P/E ratio will eventually have to live up to the high rating by substantially increasing its earnings, or the price will need to drop. High P/E stocks could be "growth" stocks, while low PE stocks may be "value" stocks. SEE: Profit With The Power Of Price-To-Earnings

Mohawk Industries (NYSE:MHK) has increased to a share price of $68.73, a 4.1% rise. So far today, the company's volume is 773,467 shares, 1.3 times the average daily volume. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. 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 debt ratio is calculated by dividing total liabilities by total assets. The debt ratio for MHK is a low 45%. This indicates that the company engages in conservative financing with opportunities to borrow in the future at no significant risk. As with all financial ratios, a company's debt ratio should be compared with the industry average or similar companies.

Polo Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL) has moved up 3.3% and is currently trading at $144.74 per share. So far today, 308,158 shares have changed hands. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it. 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 is used for spotting recovery situations or for double-checking that a company's growth has not become overvalued. The P/S ratio for RL is a high 2.35. 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.

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. However, these fundamental metrics must be analyzed with historic data, industry information in addition to firm specific financial statements.

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