Why Vulcan Materials Company's Shares Popped Today

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 construction materials provider Vulcan Materials Company (NYSE: VMC  ) jumped 10% today after the company reported earnings.

So what: Fourth-quarter revenue was up 14%, to $652.9 million, which easily topped the $620.7 million that analysts expected. On the bottom line, net income more than doubled, to $9.1 million, or $0.07 per share, $0.03 ahead of estimates. 

Now what: Management was also bullish on 2014, saying that demand from building and infrastructure construction should be up this year. That bodes well for the coming year, but I'm still cautious, given the fact that Vulcan would have lost money last year if not for a tax benefit. While I'm not buying today, I'll watch how demand goes in early 2014 because Vulcan definitely has operating and financial leverage if demand does increase as management hopes.

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