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 Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE:ANR) jumped as much as 17% today, after releasing earnings.

So what: Fourth quarter revenue fell 25%, to $1.56 billion, and net loss was $128 million, or $0.58 per share. But on an adjusted basis, which pulls out one-time items, the loss was just $0.19 per share, well ahead of the $0.55 loss that Wall Street expected.  

Now what: It's not exactly good when you lose $128 million, but when Wall Street expects worse, your stock can shoot higher. Still, I would focus on how poorly Alpha Natural is doing instead of just looking at expectations. Coal producers are dealing with low prices and are playing a game of chicken to see how they survive until the market recovers. That's a game I don't want to play, so I'm certainly not buying this earnings report today.

Interested in more info on Alpha Natural? Add it to your watchlist by clicking here.

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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