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: Specialty chemical company Ashland (NYSE: ASH) saw its shares surge 10% in intraday trading on news that it would sell its distribution unit to TPG Capital for $930 million.  

So what: Ever since its $2.28 billion purchase of specialty chemicals maker Hercules, Ashland has been looking to transform itself into a more focused company. Naturally, today's divesture of another non-core asset was another significant step toward that goal. 

Now what: I just love investing in special situations, and Ashland seems like one of the more attractive ones. Ashland still has a ton of debt related to the Hercules purchase, but its portfolio is better positioned for the long run, while management seems to be making steady fat-cutting progress. With Ashland still trading at a forward P/E discount to larger chemical plays such as Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW) and DuPont (NYSE: DD), today's pop might be just a drop in the bucket.

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

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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