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Tickers in this Article: AUY, GOLD, CDE, SSRI, RGLD, HMY, SLW
The market is currently down, with the Nasdaq down 0.1%, the S&P 500 slipping 0.2% and the Dow declining 0.2%.

The Gold and Silver sector (SLV) is up 0.1% on a bad day for the market overall. The biggest movers in the sector are currently:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Yamana Gold Inc. (USA) (NYSE:AUY).19 billion+3.3%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (ADR) (Nasdaq:GOLD).7 billion+3.2%
Coeur d\'Alene Mines Corporation (NYSE:CDE).69 billion+3.1%
Silver Standard Resources Inc. (USA) (Nasdaq:SSRI).06 billion+3%
Royal Gold, Inc. (Nasdaq:RGLD).64 billion-2.3%
Harmony Gold Mining Co. (ADR) (NYSE:HMY).25 billion+2.2%
Silver Wheaton Corp. (USA) (NYSE:SLW).59 billion+1.8%
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After an increase of 3.3%, Yamana Gold Inc (NYSE:AUY) has reached a current price of $15.48. So far today, the company's volume is 4.5 million shares, 0.7 times its current daily average. Volume is an important indicator because it indicates how significant a price shift is. 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. One of the favorite tools of many value investors is analyzing price/book value ratios, as it provides a measure of the underlying value of a company's assets as compared to the valuation of its equity. The P/B ratio for AUY is 1.52, 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: Investment Valuation Ratios: Price/Book Value Ratio

After rising 3.2%, Randgold Resources Ltd (Nasdaq:GOLD) is currently trading at a share price of $97.76. The company is currently trading a volume of 329,241 shares. 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. Dividend yield measures the income that a stock will generate for an investor. GOLD has a dividend yield of 0.4%, which is fairly low. This could indicate that that the stock is overpriced or that future dividends might be higher. A stock's dividend yield depends on the nature of a company's business, its posture in the marketplace (value or growth oriented), its earnings and cash flow, and its dividend policy. SEE: Guide To Stock-Picking Strategies: Income Investing

Coeur d'Alene (NYSE:CDE) is up 3.1% to reach a current price of $19.34 per share. With 1.2 million shares changing hands so far today, the company's volume is 0.7 times the current three-month average. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest. Investors can make use of valuation ratios to estimate whether a stock is fairly valued. 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. CDE's P/S ratio of 2.08 is on the high side. 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.

Silver Standard Resources Inc (Nasdaq:SSRI) is at $13.47 per share after an increase of 3%. The company is trading at a volume of 256,624 shares. This is on pace to fall short of yesterday's volume of 809,694 shares. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is. Valuation ratios allow the investor to make a quick determination as to a company's investment value. The debt ratio is calculated by dividing total liabilities by total assets. SSRI has a debt ratio of 22.8%, which is fairly low. 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. As with all financial ratios, a company's debt ratio should be compared with the industry average or similar companies.

Currently trading at $76.97 per share, Royal Gold (Nasdaq:RGLD) has fallen 2.3%. So far today, the company's volume is 456,626 shares, 0.8 times the average daily volume. High volume indicates a lot of investor interest while low volume indicates the opposite. 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. A company's price/earnings ratio (P/E ratio) provides a measure of how expensive or cheap a stock is. RGLD's P/E ratio is 48.0. 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

Harmony Gold Mining Co (NYSE:HMY) has increased to a share price of $10.10, a 2.2% rise. So far today, 406,688 shares have changed hands. If a stock price moves on high volume, this means that the change is a significant one. 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 debt-equity (D/E) ratio compares the total liabilities for a company to its total shareholder equity. The debt-equity ratio of 5% is relatively low. Companies with low D/E ratios are more attractive to investors because they are better able to protect their business interests in times of decline. The D/E ratio percentage provides a much more dramatic perspective on a company's leverage position than the debt ratio percentage.

Increasing 1.8%, Silver Wheaton Corp (NYSE:SLW) is trading at $30.48 per share. The company's volume is currently two million shares for the day, in keeping with its current three-month 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. Understanding investment valuation ratios allows an investor to assess the true value of an individual stock. 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. SLW has a fairly low capitalization ratio of 1.5%. A low capitalization ratio can signify a failure to leverage equity into investment, missing valuable opportunities for growth and expansion. Prudent use of leverage (debt) increases the financial resources available to a company for growth and expansion.

The Bottom Line On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. Paying close attention to the previous ratios will help you identify key times to adjust your strategy. 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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