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: You know how in the funny papers, a guy slips on a banana peel, and rather than falling on his keister he goes spinning up in the air? Yeah, that's basically what happened to Dole Food (Nasdaq: DOLE) shares this morning. On no apparent news, they suddenly spiked north of $11.

So what: Of course, the law of gravity won't be defied. Already as of this writing, Dole shares are slumping once more as investors begin to realize there was absolutely no news to justify the run-up.

Now what: I mean, what could go right for this stock at this point?

Earnings? They already came out, and they were lousy to boot. Dole's earnings fell 44% short of analyst estimates, a worse performance than either Fresh Del Monte (NYSE: FDP) or ConAgra (NYSE: CAG) turned in.

A buyout, a la KKR's (NYSE: KKR) purchase of Del Monte Foods (NYSE: DLM) last month? Maybe ... But honestly, folks, Dole has been public for a year now, and nobody showed an interest in buying it before. Heavily indebted, only marginally profitable, and priced at more than 48 times earnings, Dole doesn't look all that tempting. I really don't see private equity riding in to pick Dole shareholders up off the floor after their post-IPO fall.

My advice: If someone is offering to pay you more for produce today than it sold for yesterday, and the only thing about it that has changed is that it's a day older and a day less fresh -- take that deal!

Want to keep closer track of Dole Food's ups and downs? Add it to your watchlist.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not have any position in any company named above. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.