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 Monster Worldwide (NYSE:MWW) plunged more than 18% early Thursday after the company released weaker-than-expected first-quarter results.

So what: Quarterly revenue fell 7% year over year to $198 million, which translated to adjusted net income of $7 million, or $0.08 per share. Analysts, on average, were looking for adjusted earnings of $0.09 per share on sales of $200.86 million.

In addition, Monster Worldwide expects adjusted second-quarter earnings in the range of $0.07 to $0.11, compared to analysts' models that called for Q2 earnings of $0.12 per share on the same basis. 

Now what: To its credit, Monster's adjusted first-quarter earnings did arrive at the mid-point of its guidance, albeit with the help of $40 million in share repurchases at an average cost basis of $7.88 per share. As of March 31, 2014, there was also roughly $54 million remaining under Monster's existing $200 million share repurchase authorization.

Even so, and while Monster did see sequential revenue growth in its Careers businesses last quarter, I'd like to see Monster sustain earnings without relying on buybacks to meet its goals. Better yet, it'd be great to see Monster be able to profitably reinvest some of that money in its business or give investors a choice of where to put its excess cash by paying a dividend. For now, that's why I'm perfectly happy watching from the sidelines.

Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned, and neither does The Motley Fool. 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.