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 investment banking and asset management firm Piper Jaffray (NYSE: PJC) sank as much as 11% after reporting disappointing second-quarter earnings results.

So what: Let's just put it this way: If Wall Street's estimates were in Los Angeles, then Piper Jaffray's report puts them somewhere around Cleveland. For the quarter, Piper Jaffray reported a 3.2% decline in net revenue to $99.8 million and a profit of just $0.25 per share. Comparatively, Piper Jaffray reported a tax-benefit-aided $0.58 per share in the year-ago period, and $0.60 per share in the first quarter of this year. Wall Street, on the other hand, had been expecting revenue of nearly $120 million and $0.55 in EPS. The big drag on Piper Jaffray's results was its fixed income business, which saw revenue dive 76% from the year-ago period because of a rapid increase in interest rates and widening credit spreads.

Now what: If there is good news here, it's that other aspects of Piper Jaffray's business performed just fine. Asset management remains a strong growth segment ($10.2 billion under management compared to $8.5 billion a year ago), and it completed more equity financings than last year. However, it remains to be seen if fixed income, previously a bread-and-butter cash cow for Piper Jaffray, will see a leveling off in volatility, or if it will continue to wreak havoc on the company's bottom line.

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Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.

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