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Tickers in this Article: HPT, WPC, AGNC, Z, HCN, VTR, VNO
The Nasdaq is trading up 0.8%, the S&P 500 is up 0.7% and the Dow has increased 0.6% on a good day for the market so far.

The Real Estate Operations sector (IYR) is down 1% on a good day for the market overall. The biggest movers in the sector so far are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Hospitality Properties Trust (NYSE:HPT)$3.05 billion-5.2%
W. P. Carey & Co. LLC (NYSE:WPC)$1.91 billion-4.2%
American Capital Agency Corp. (Nasdaq:AGNC)$10.38 billion-3.3%
Zillow Inc (Nasdaq:Z)$1.14 billion+2.9%
Health Care REIT (NYSE:HCN)$12.96 billion-2.6%
Ventas (NYSE:VTR)$19.74 billion-2.3%
Vornado Realty (NYSE:VNO)$15.89 billion-2.2%
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Currently trading at $23.36 per share, Hospitality (NYSE:HPT) has fallen 5.2%. The company's volume for the day so far is 610,671 shares. Yesterday's volume was only 565,019 shares. 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 debt-equity (D/E) ratio compares the total liabilities for a company to its total shareholder equity. HPT's D/E ratio is 96%. 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.

W. P (NYSE:WPC) is currently trading at a share price of $45.42, a 4.2% decline. So far today, the company's volume is 61,820 shares, 1.8 times the current daily average. 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. Investors can use valuation ratios as tools to estimate what kind of deal a particular investment is. The price/book value ratio is calculated by dividing the current stock price by the company's book value per share. WPC's stock is trading for more than its book value with a P/B ratio of 2.68. This may be a sign that the company is overvalued. All else being equal, a stock with a low P/B value ratio is more attractive than a stock with a high ratio. SEE: Using The Price-To-Book Ratio To Evaluate Companies

American Capital (Nasdaq:AGNC) has decreased to $32.96 per share, a 3.3% fall. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 22.3 million shares. If a stock price moves on high volume, this means that the change is a significant one. Investment valuation ratios provide investors with an estimation, albeit a simplistic one, of the value of a stock. Dividend yield is a way to measure how much cash flow you are getting for each dollar invested in an equity position - in other words, how much "bang for your buck" you are getting from dividends. Dividend yield for AGNC is a high 14.7%. This could be a sign that the company is a "dividend trap" as companies with high dividends can be risky investments. Simply comparing the level of dividends that two stocks pay does not give a true reflection of which security is more attractive, so investors calculate the dividend yield in order to standardize dividend payments. SEE: Guide To Stock-Picking Strategies: Income Investing

Increasing 2.9%, Zillow (Nasdaq:Z) is trading at $40.79 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 354,929 shares, consistent with its average over the last three months. 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. When estimating the value of a particular investment, valuation ratios provide a good basis for assessing the value of an individual stock. The debt ratio is calculated by dividing total liabilities by total assets. The debt ratio for Z is a low 12.7%. This indicates that the company engages in conservative financing with opportunities to borrow in the future at no significant risk. 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 $59.01, Health Care REIT (NYSE:HCN) has slipped 2.6%. The company's volume is currently 5.6 million shares. This is more trading activity than there was yesterday. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is. 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. 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. HCN has a high P/S ratio of 7.5. 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.

Ventas (NYSE:VTR) has fallen 2.3% and is currently trading at $65.26 per share. At 804,141 shares, the company's volume so far today is consistent with its current daily average. 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. Looking at a company's valuation ratios is a good way of getting a basic idea as to its value as an investment. A company's capitalization (not to be confused with its market capitalization) is the term used to describe the makeup of a company's permanent or long-term capital, which consists of both long-term debt and shareholders' equity. VTR has a capitalization ratio of 43.3%. 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.

So far today, 556,012 shares have changed hands. Volume is an important indicator because it indicates how significant a price shift is. Understanding investment valuation ratios allows an investor to assess the true value of an individual stock. The debt-equity (D/E) ratio is a leverage ratio. The D/E ratio for VNO is 177%. Companies with high D/E ratios may have difficulty attracting additional investment capital. The D/E ratio percentage provides a much more dramatic perspective on a company's leverage position than the debt ratio percentage.

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

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