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Tickers in this Article: CKH, ALGT, GLF, SFL, ALEX, GWR, WAB
The market is doing well so far today. The Nasdaq has risen 0.1%; the S&P 500 has increased 0.3%; and the Dow has moved up 0.4%. 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.

Outperforming the market overall, the Transportation sector (IYT) is up 0.4% and its biggest movers so far today are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Seacor Holdings (NYSE:CKH)$1.82 billion+2%
Allegiant Travel (Nasdaq:ALGT)$1.25 billion+2%
GulfMark Offshore (NYSE:GLF)$929.3 million+1.8%
Ship Finance (NYSE:SFL)$1.38 billion-1.8%
Alexander & Baldwin (NYSE:ALEX)$1.28 billion-1.6%
Genesee & Wyoming (NYSE:GWR)$2.85 billion+1.4%
Westinghouse Air Brake (NYSE:WAB)$3.9 billion+1.3%
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Seacor Holdings (NYSE:CKH) is up 2% to reach a current price of $88.58 per share. This morning, the company's volume is 15,971 shares. This is 0.3 times the current daily average. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift 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. The capitalization ratio is calculated by dividing long-term debt by the sum of long-term debt and shareholders' equity. The capitalization ratio for CKH is 33.8%. A low level of debt and a healthy proportion of equity in a company's capital structure is an indication of financial fitness.

Allegiant Travel (Nasdaq:ALGT) has risen 2% to hit a current price of $66.33 per share. The company's volume is currently 25,764 shares for the day, lighter than yesterday's volume of 80,493 shares. If a stock price moves on high volume, this means that the change is a significant one. 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 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. ALGT's PEG ratio is 0.76. 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.

Rising 1.8%, GulfMark Offshore (NYSE:GLF) is currently trading at $35.12 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 53,137 shares. 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. If the price/book value ratio of a stock is high, it may indicate that the stock is expensive, while a lower ratio may indicate that the stock is a bargain. The P/B ratio for GLF is 0.93 because the stock is trading for less than its book value. This is due to one of two possibilities: that the stock is being unfairly or incorrectly undervalued by investors because of some transitory circumstance and represents an attractive buying opportunity at a bargain price or that the market's low opinion and valuation of the company are correct, at least over the foreseeable future. One problem with the P/B value ratio is that it can be difficult to calculate the true book value of a company, so investors should be aware that many measures of book value may provide only a rough estimate, and should be taken with a grain of salt. SEE: Investment Valuation Ratios: Price/Book Value Ratio

Currently trading at $17.05 per share, Ship Finance (NYSE:SFL) has fallen 1.8%. The company's volume is currently 185,317 shares for the day, 0.3 times its current three-month average. Volume is an important indicator because it indicates how significant a price shift is. Valuation ratios allow the investor to make a quick determination as to a company's investment value. 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. SFL's dividend yield of 9% is on the high end. Companies with large dividends tend to cut them to preserve cash flow, so watch out that you don't end up with a stock that might not be worth owning. 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: Investment Valuation Ratios: Dividend Yield

Alexander & Baldwin (NYSE:ALEX) is currently trading at a share price of $29.62, a 1.6% decline. The company's volume for the morning is 14,745 shares. This is 0.1 times its current daily average. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it. 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 ratio measures the leverage of a company, and a company's leverage is a good way to assess risk. ALEX's debt ratio of 38.2% is on the low side. In other words, the company is less sensitive to changes in business or interest rates since less of its cash flow is dedicated to paying off loan expenses. 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.

Increasing 1.4%, Genesee & Wyoming (NYSE:GWR) is trading at $67.36 per share. This morning, 121,946 shares have been traded, with trading activity in keeping with yesterday's. 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 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 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 17.63, GWR's P/E ratio of 22.9 is quite high. This could mean that the market is expecting big things over the next few months or years. 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

Westinghouse Air Brake (NYSE:WAB) is currently trading at $82.37 per share, a 1.3% increase. The company is currently trading a volume of 41,713 shares. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest. 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. When used consistently and uniformly, the price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio is an essential tool that adds dimension to the price/earnings ratio, allows comparisons across diverse industries and is always on the lookout for value. WAB's PEG ratio of 1.21 is in line with the industry average. Because of the adjustment for earnings growth rate, the PEG ratio is somewhat more useful than many formulas for comparing companies in different industries.

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. Tools like valuation ratios and profit margins, however, are only as useful as the context you put them in; remember to take historical data and competitor performance into account.

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