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Why Gaylord Entertainment's Shares Jumped

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of hotel operator Gaylord Entertainment (NYSE: GET  ) were reaching for the sky today, gaining as much as 14% in intraday trading after the company released preliminary first-quarter results.

So what: Cutting right to the chase, for the first quarter the company expects $0.12 in income from continuing operations per share. That not only reverses a loss from the prior year, but easily tops the $0.05 that Wall Street analysts were looking for.

On the top line, revenue for the quarter was up 8% from the prior year, to $239 million. That was also above analyst estimates. Helping drive the revenue growth was a 4.9% increase in total revenue per available room night.

Now what: The news is a nice respite for shareholders as the company has been working its way back after two key properties in Nashville were flooded in 2010. The company filed a suit earlier this week alleging that negligence on the part of the National Weather Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contributed to the $250 million in damages.

While that will undoubtedly be a contentious battle, at least for now investors have some news to celebrate.

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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not have a financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or Facebook. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.

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