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 zinc miner Horsehead Holding (Nasdaq: ZINC) jumped more than 10% in intraday trading Tuesday on heavier-than-average volume.

So what: With no news out of Horsehead's stable today, it's mostly speculation to try and figure out why the stock is popping. One possibility is that as investors look ahead to 2011, they may be upping their allocation to metals and miners after a stellar performance in 2010 and heady expectations for the year ahead. Of course, as far as 2010 goes at least, zinc was definitely a laggard, but an article from Bloomberg notes that in a recent survey, analysts pegged the metal's 2011 appreciation at 21%.

Now what: Though China is hardly the only growing economy out there, the outlook for zinc and other metals will depend a lot on it during the coming year. While there are definite concerns that the Chinese government will continue to pump the economic brakes to head off inflation, expectations are still high that the country will continue to be a ravenous consumer of metals and other natural resources. As for Horsehead in particular, the stock doesn't look especially cheap or expensive right now, and with no specific news driving today's move, investors sniffing around may want to wait for this jump to shake out a bit before chasing the stock.

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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.