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 oil and gas exploration company Hyperdynamics (NYSE: HDY) were drilled in trading today, falling as much as 35% on heavier-than-average volume.

So what: As fellow Fool Toby Shute detailed a couple of weeks ago, Hyperdynamics has managed to generate a lot of excitement, but it's still unclear when investors can hope to see some return on their investment. The hoped-for returns are expected to come from a site off the shore of Guinea in West Africa. But to get the project going, Hyperdynamics has been signing up partners to help shoulder the costs. Today's news was that the discussions with "a large independent oil and gas company" that were announced in mid-December were terminated. As the share action suggests, this is less than optimal.

Now what: This is certainly a setback for the company, particularly in light of the excitement that the announcement of the discussions seemed to engender: Shares rose 115% between Dec. 16 and Jan. 14. For Hyperdynamics, the best bet may be to hop right back on the horse and find a new partner. This will likely set back the timeline for the project, which inevitably impacts the value of the project, but it doesn't mean that it can't still come together. Speculators and traders will probably want to stick around because it seems pretty likely that there will be plenty more volatile swings ahead. For investors, however, there are plenty of other options that are far less speculative (and far more profitable) than Hyperdynamics.

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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 prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.