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 refiner Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO) jumped 12% today after the company issued a huge earnings beat.

So what: The company posted a fourth-quarter profit of $1.0 billion, or $1.82 per share. On an adjusted basis, which takes out one-time items, earnings per share were $1.88, way above the $1.18 analysts expected.  

Now what: Valero is benefiting from lower-cost crude oil from shale plays that don't yet have the infrastructure to maximize profits. Localized prices were lower, increasing margins for the company in the quarter. Nonetheless, this was a huge quarter, and there will continue to be price abnormalities like this in the future, so I think shares can continue to move higher on the strong results.

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Fool contributor Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings, or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw

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