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Tickers in this Article: GLNG, CKH, HOS, GLF, NSC, UHAL, WAB
The market is currently down, with the Nasdaq falling 0.9%, the S&P 500 decreasing 0.7% and the Dow down 0.7%. 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.

The Transportation sector (IYT) is down 0.8%, outperforming the market overall. Currently, the biggest movers in the sector are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Golar LNG Limited (Nasdaq:GLNG)$3.25 billion-2.5%
Seacor Holdings (NYSE:CKH)$1.83 billion-2.4%
Hornbeck Offshore Services (NYSE:HOS)$1.38 billion-2.3%
GulfMark Offshore (NYSE:GLF)$962.1 million-2.1%
Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC)$23.54 billion-1.7%
AMERCO (Nasdaq:UHAL)$1.88 billion-1.4%
Westinghouse Air Brake (NYSE:WAB)$3.75 billion-1%
Forex Broker Summary: Forex Capital Markets (FXCM)

At $39.44, Golar LNG Limited (Nasdaq:GLNG) has slipped 2.5%. The company's volume is currently 1.4 million shares. Yesterday's volume was only 854,948 shares. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. Looking at a company's valuation ratios is a good way of getting a basic idea as to its value as an investment. 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. The P/E ratio for GLNG is 65.2, above the industry average of 6.77. Generally speaking, the higher the P/E ratio, the higher the market expectations for a company's future performance. High P/E stocks could be "growth" stocks, while low PE stocks may be "value" stocks. SEE: Investment Valuation Ratios: Price/Earnings Ratio

Seacor Holdings (NYSE:CKH) has fallen 2.4% and is currently trading at $85.03 per share. The company's volume is currently 13,186 shares for the day, consistent with its current daily average. Volume is also used as a secondary indicator to help confirm what the price movement is suggesting. Valuation ratios like 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 are useful in determining how attractive a potential or existing investment is. 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. CKH has a low P/S ratio of 0.88. Coupled with high relative strength in the previous twelve months, a low P/S ratio is one of the most potent combinations of investment criteria. 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.

Hornbeck Offshore Services (NYSE:HOS) is down 2.3% to reach $38.16 per share. The company is currently trading a volume of 159,694 shares. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it. When estimating the value of a particular investment, valuation ratios provide a good basis for assessing the value of an individual stock. 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 HOS is 1.23, indicating that the stock is trading for more 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. All else being equal, a stock with a low P/B value ratio is more attractive than a stock with a high ratio. SEE: How Buybacks Warps The Price-To-Book Ratio

Slipping 2.1%, GulfMark Offshore (NYSE:GLF) is currently trading at $34.96 per share. The company's volume is currently 14,063 shares for the day, 0.1 times its average over the past three months. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest. 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. The price/earnings ratio is calculated by taking a stock price and dividing it by the earnings-per-share (EPS). Compared to the industry average of 15.13, GLF's P/E ratio of 19.1 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. A high or low P/E ratio is not good or bad in and of itself, but a company trading with a high P/E ratio must continue to post strong financial performance or its stock price is likely to fall. SEE: How To Use The P/E Ratio And PEG To Tell The Future Of A Stock

Falling 1.7%, Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) is currently at a share price of $72.39. The company is trading at a volume of 487,620 shares. This is a sign that there will be less trading activity than there was yesterday. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is. Understanding investment valuation ratios allows an investor to assess the true value of an individual stock. The price/sales ratio is used for spotting recovery situations or for double-checking that a company's growth has not become overvalued. NSC has a high P/S ratio of 2.06. 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.

AMERCO (Nasdaq:UHAL) is currently trading at a share price of $94.75, a 1.4% decline. So far today, the company's volume is 5,451 shares, 0.3 times its current daily average. 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. 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 easy-to-calculate debt ratio is helpful to investors looking for a quick take on the leverage for a company. UHAL's debt ratio of 77% is fairly high. This might mean that the company now has low borrowing capacity, which reduces it's financial flexibility. As with all financial ratios, a company's debt ratio should be compared with the industry average or similar companies.

At $77.58, Westinghouse Air Brake (NYSE:WAB) has slipped 1%. So far today, 49,485 shares have changed hands. 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 dividend yield is measured by taking the annual dividends per share and dividing that number by the stock price. WAB has a low dividend yield of 0.3%. This may indicate that the company's stock is overpriced. It is important to remember that while a higher dividend yield is more attractive, all else being equal, a higher dividend yield can also indicate greater perceived risk. SEE: Guide To Stock-Picking Strategies: Income Investing

The Bottom Line The nature of the market is such that stocks will have good days and bad days. Daily stock performance should be weighed against historical performance and put in context of the market overall. 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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