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 Freescale Semiconductor, Ltd. (NYSE:FSL) popped nearly 15% Wednesday after the company's fourth quarter results and forward guidance both exceeded Wall Street's expectations.

So what: Quarterly sales came in at $1.08 billion, which translated to adjusted earnings per share of $0.45. By comparison, analysts were looking for adjusted earnings of only $0.18 per share on sales of $1.05 billion.

In addition, Freescale projects current quarter sales between $1.07 billion and $1.11 billion, compared with estimates for sales of just $1.03 billion.

Now what: Freescale also notes that gross margin in Q1 is expected to increase by roughly 50 to 75 basis points over last quarter's 42.7% -- a great thing, considering the company actually turned in a net loss of $0.46 per share in Q4 in accordance with generally accepted accounting standards.

To be sure, CEO Gregg Lowe assured investors while Freescale made progress in growing market share across each of its five product groups, "there is a lot more to do and the Freescale team is focused on driving continued improvements in market share and margin."

With shares currently trading at less than 1 time sales and around 10 times next year's estimated earnings, I think the stock could still prove a bargain for patient investors as long as Freescale can continue marching toward sustained profitability over the long term.

Steve Symington and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.