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Tickers in this Article: USTR, BTH, GMCR, TRC, MNST, FLO, PEET
The market is having a bad day so far. The Nasdaq is trading down 0.2%; the S&P 500 is down 0.5%; and the Dow has fallen 0.6%.

The Consumer/Non-Cyclical sector (XLP) is currently lagging behind the overall market, down 0.3%, and its current biggest movers are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
United Stationers Inc. (Nasdaq:USTR)$1.11 billion-5.4%
Blyth, Inc. (NYSE:BTH)$567.4 million-2.9%
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (Nasdaq:GMCR)$2.72 billion+2.5%
Tejon Ranch Company (NYSE:TRC)$544.2 million-2.3%
Monster Beverage Corp (Nasdaq:MNST)$11.66 billion-2.1%
Flowers Foods, Inc. (NYSE:FLO)$2.81 billion+1.9%
Peet\'s Coffee & Tea, Inc. (Nasdaq:PEET)$968 million+1.6%
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After a decline of 5.4%, United Stationers (Nasdaq:USTR) has hit a share price of $25.78. So far today, the company's volume is 189,566 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. A company's value as an investment is more easily 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 USTR is 40.4%. 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.

Blyth (NYSE:BTH) has fallen 2.9% and is currently trading at $32 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 31,360 shares, 0.3 times the average volume over the last three months. High volume indicates a lot of investor interest while low volume indicates the opposite. Valuation ratios allow the investor to make a quick determination as to a company's investment value. 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. BTH's stock is trading for more than its book value with a P/B ratio of 3.36. This may be a sign that the company is overvalued. Users need to be careful when applying this ratio though, as it is more useful for industrial companies that have a lot of tangible assets than it is for technology or consumer product companies that may not have much in the way of hard assets. SEE: How Buybacks Warps The Price-To-Book Ratio

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq:GMCR) has increased to a share price of $17.93, a 2.5% rise. So far today, the company's volume is 2.4 million shares. At this rate, trading activity will likely be down from yesterday when 6.9 million shares changed hands. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. Investment valuation ratios can be very useful in estimating whether a stock price is too high, reasonable or a bargain investment opportunity. 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. GMCR has a high P/S ratio of 2.09. In young companies, a high P/S ratio is a sign of sales growth that is expected to turn into earnings and cash flow. 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.

Slipping 2.3%, Tejon Ranch (NYSE:TRC) is currently trading at $26.57 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 18,131 shares, 0.4 times 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. 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 debt ratio gives users a quick measure of the amount of debt that the company has on its balance sheets compared to its assets. TRC's debt ratio of 18.2% 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.

At $64.76, Monster (Nasdaq:MNST) has slipped 2.1%. So far today, 985,922 shares have changed hands. 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. 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. MNST has a P/E ratio of 39.5, high compared to the industry average of 20.73. This could mean that the market is expecting big things over the next few months or years. 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: Profit With The Power Of Price-To-Earnings

Flowers Foods (NYSE:FLO) is currently trading at $21.06 per share, a 1.9% increase. At 322,877 shares, the company's volume so far today is in keeping with its current three-month average. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is. Valuation ratios include 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 measures the debt component of the capital structure, or capitalization of a company (i.e., the sum of long-term debt liabilities and shareholder equity) to support operations and growth. FLO has a capitalization ratio of 33.8%. Prudent use of leverage (debt) increases the financial resources available to a company for growth and expansion.

Increasing 1.6%, Peet's Coffee & Tea (Nasdaq:PEET) is trading at $74.20 per share. So far today, 571,034 shares of the company's stock have changed hands. This is on pace to fall short of yesterday's volume of 3.6 million shares. Volume is also used as a secondary indicator to help confirm what the price movement is suggesting. 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/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio can reveal value what price/earnings (P/E) ratios alone may not so that if a company has a high P/E ratio (an indication that its stock is overpriced) but its earnings are growing very quickly, the PEG ratio may reveal that the company is actually fairly valued, or perhaps even a bargain. PEET's PEG ratio of 2.35 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 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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