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 equipment rental specialist United Rentals (NYSE: URI) jumped more than 12% in intraday trading as the company reported better-than-expected results for its third quarter.

So what: This time last year, United Rentals posted a break-even quarter on rental revenue of $478 million. This year, the company managed $0.33 in per-share profit on a 6% boost in rental revenue. Over the past 12 months, the company is still sitting on a $31 million loss, but that's a notable improvement over the $62 million loss in 2009. And when it comes to investors' reactions, we can't ignore the fact that the $0.33 that United Rentals reported was comfortably above the $0.25 that Wall Street expected.

Now what: Economic uncertainty seems to be helping the company as United Rentals saw customers choosing to rent equipment rather than make the purchase commitment. If that's true, we may see it providing a drag on the quarterly numbers for equipment manufacturers such as Terex (NYSE: TEX), Deere (NYSE: DE), and Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT). But the bottom line for United Rentals is that its business appears to be moving in the right direction.

Interested in more info on United Rentals? Add it to your watchlist by clicking here.

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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or on his RSS feed. The Fool's disclosure policy assures you no Wookiees were harmed in the making of this article.