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 cosmetic kingpin Estee Lauder (NYSE: EL) were looking absolutely fabulous today in a bright shade of better-than-expected earnings. Investors fell in love with the look instantly and sent shares fluttering to the clouds.

So what: Adjusted earnings per share for the company's fiscal first quarter came in at $0.97, versus analysts' expectations of $0.77. The company's bottom line represented a 14% gain versus last year, as sales pushed higher by the same percentage. The quarter benefitted from strong international sales and consumers' return to the company's luxury products.

Now what: That return to luxury should be particularly notable to investors, especially in light of the disappointing results from Avon (NYSE: AVP) and Revlon (NYSE: REV). The trend seems to confirm what we've seen elsewhere -- like high-end purse maker Coach's (NYSE: COH) earnings, for instance. Estee Lauder chairman Leonard Lauder once postulated that during tough times, sales of lower-priced cosmetics – lipstick, in particular -- increase as women treat themselves without breaking the bank. It could follow that more signs of life in Estee Lauder's luxury products may not just be a good sign for the company -- it could be a positive note for the economy as a whole.

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