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 domestic casino company Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD) jumped 16% today after a hedge fund disclosed a stake in the company.

So what: Elliott Associates LP disclosed that it is holding a total exposure to Boyd Gaming of about 7% of the company. The fund has bought stakes in troubled companies in the past and pushed for change, but it's still uncertain what it will do with this stake.  

Now what: It wouldn't be shocking to see Elliott Associates push for a REIT, much in the way Penn National split its company into operating and real estate pieces. But David Bain of Sterne, Agee & Leach said today that the Boyd family would have to reduce its stake from around 30% to make that possible. I wouldn't take the fund's actions as either a buy or sell sign by itself, but if you're bullish on the stock it could bolster the opinion that more shareholder value could be unlocked. But there are a lot of headwinds in regional gaming and that's not a trend I'm looking to get in front of right now.

A better operator to buy today
Boyd Gaming is in a tough strategic position, but there are great companies out there on the market. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for 2014, and it's one of those stocks that could make you rich. You can find out which stock it is in the special free report "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.