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Tickers in this Article: CHK, PDCE, XEC, OAS, REXX, NFX, APA
This morning's trading has marked a bad day for the market so far. The Nasdaq has fallen 0.7%; the S&P 500 has decreased 0.7%; and the Dow has declined 0.8%.

The Oil and Gas Operations sector (DIG) is currently ahead of the overall market, down only 0.1%, and its biggest movers are currently:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK)$12.11 billion-3.9%
PDC Energy Inc (Nasdaq:PDCE)$788.5 million+2.5%
Cimarex Energy Co. (NYSE:XEC)$5.1 billion-2.1%
Oasis Petroleum Inc. (NYSE:OAS)$2.59 billion+2%
Rex Energy Corporation (Nasdaq:REXX)$660.9 million+1.8%
Newfield Exploration (NYSE:NFX)$4.4 billion-1.8%
Apache (NYSE:APA)$33.97 billion-1.8%
Broker Summary: E-Trade Financial

Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) is currently trading at a share price of $17.56, a 3.9% decline. The company's volume is currently 26.9 million shares for the day, whereas yesterday, volume was only 26.4 million shares. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it. Investors can use valuation ratios as tools to estimate what kind of deal a particular investment is. The price/sales ratio is used for spotting recovery situations or for double-checking that a company's growth has not become overvalued. CHK has a high P/S ratio of 1.23. This could be a good sign if the share price increases. All things being equal, a low P/S ratio is good news for investors, while a very high one can be a warning sign.

Increasing 2.5%, PDC Energy (Nasdaq:PDCE) is trading at $27.02 per share. So far today, 104,670 shares have changed hands. High volume indicates a lot of investor interest while low volume indicates the opposite. Understanding investment valuation ratios allows an investor to assess the true value of an individual stock. Perhaps one of the most widely-used stock analysis tools is the price-to-earnings ratio, or P/E. PDCE has a P/E ratio of 13.1. From the investor's perspective, a stock with a lower ratio is relatively cheaper than a stock with a higher ratio. SEE: Investment Valuation Ratios: Price/Earnings Ratio

After a decline of 2.1%, Cimarex (NYSE:XEC) has hit a share price of $58.27. With 424,420 shares changing hands so far today, the company's volume is 0.4 times the current three-month average. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest. Investment valuation ratios can be very useful in estimating whether a stock price is too high, reasonable or a bargain investment opportunity. The assumption with high price/earnings stocks (generally of the growth variety) is that investors are willing to buy at a high price because they believe that the stock has significant growth potential, and the price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio helps investors determine the degree of reliability of that growth assumption. XEC's PEG ratio is -3.03. 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.

Oasis Petroleum (NYSE:OAS) has moved up 2% and is currently trading at $28.34 per share. This morning, the company's volume is 526,304 shares. This is consistent with its current daily average. 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/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. OAS' P/B ratio of 4.05 shows that its share price is higher 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. P/B value ratios are particularly useful to value investors, distressed or "vulture" investors, or any other investors purchasing beaten-down securities but are less useful to investors focused on growth stocks, purchasing IPOs, or investing in technology or other "asset-lite" companies. SEE: Using The Price-To-Book Ratio To Evaluate Companies

After an increase of 1.8%, Rex (Nasdaq:REXX) has reached a current price of $12.74. This morning, 182,808 shares have been traded, on pace to finish the day below yesterday's volume of 702,804 shares. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock 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. To a large degree, the debt-equity (D/E) ratio provides another vantage point on a company's leverage position, in this case, comparing total liabilities to shareholders' equity, as opposed to total assets in the debt ratio. REXX has a D/E ratio of 55%. The D/E ratio percentage provides a much more dramatic perspective on a company's leverage position than the debt ratio percentage.

Newfield Exploration (NYSE:NFX) is trading at $32.05 per share, down 1.8%. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 829,744 shares. Volume indicates the level of interest that investors have in a company at its current price. Investors can make use of valuation ratios to estimate whether a stock is fairly valued. The debt ratio measures the leverage of a company, and a company's leverage is a good way to assess risk. NFX's debt ratio is 55.3%. As with all financial ratios, a company's debt ratio should be compared with the industry average or similar companies.

At $85.35, Apache (NYSE:APA) has slipped 1.8%. The company's volume is currently 1.5 million shares for the day, consistent with its average over the last three months. Volume is also used as a secondary indicator to help confirm what the price movement is suggesting. When estimating the value of a particular investment, valuation ratios provide a good basis for assessing the value of an individual stock. The price/sales ratio measures a company's stock market value by its total revenues or alternatively, a company's price per share by its revenue per share. The P/S ratio for APA is a high 2.21. In young companies, a high P/S ratio is a sign of sales growth that is expected to turn into earnings and cash flow. It is important to keep in mind when looking at the P/S ratio that just because a company is generating revenues, this does not mean that the company is profitable, and in the long run, profits drive stock prices.

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

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