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 Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:APC) jumped 15% today after settling a long-standing lawsuit.

So what: Anadarko settled an environmental lawsuit with the U.S. government for $5.1 billion, ending a battle that's lasted more than five years. This stems from the $18 billion acquisition of Kerr-McGee's oil and gas business nearly a decade ago. Kerr-McGee had spun off its chemical business just three months earlier to a company called Tronox, and included environmental liabilities, only to see Tronox go bankrupt in 2009. 

Now what: Sure, $5.1 billion is a lot of money, but investors seem to be cheering companies settling litigation right now. The payment also falls below a range of $5.2 billion to $14.2 billion, suggested by Tronox's bankruptcy judge late last year. Investors were clearly expecting a settlement, so just eliminating the cloud over Anadarko is seen as a positive today.

Three stock picks to ride America's energy bonanza
This isn't the only hot stock in energy. Record oil and natural gas production is revolutionizing the United States' energy position. Finding the right plays, while historic amounts of capital expenditures are flooding the industry, will pad your investment nest egg. For this reason, the Motley Fool is offering a look at three energy companies using a small IRS "loophole" to help line investor pockets. Learn this strategy, and the energy companies taking advantage, in our special report, "The IRS Is Daring You To Make This Energy Investment." Don't miss out on this timely opportunity; click here to access your report -- it's absolutely free. 

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.