Why Alon USA Energy, Inc.'s Shares Popped

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 Alon USA Energy, (NYSE: ALJ  ) jumped 10% today, recovering some of the earnings inflicted losses it suffered last week.

So what: Last week, the stock was down because of a disappointing earnings report and an announcement that a 70,000-barrel-per-day California refining system could be shut down through early 2015. Today, the company got a boost when analysts at Credit Suisse upgraded the stock and increased their price target to $14. They cited the contribution of the Bakersfield start-up as a positive catalyst for the stock.  

Now what: Analyst-induced pops are common in the market, but they're rarely a great buying opportunity for investors because the short-term pop isn't a long-term value driver. I'd take a cautious approach with Alon, which just reported a huge loss of $0.47 per share in the third quarter. Until its California situation is cleared up and the company returns to a profit, I'd stay out of this stock.

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