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 Murphy Oil (NYSE: MUR) sank 13% in early Thursday trading after its quarterly results and guidance both came in below Wall Street expectations.

So what: Despite a 12% jump in revenue, Murphy's fourth-quarter profit fell 45% to $0.90 per share, versus the analyst consensus of $0.92 per share. Bad weather at Murphy's Malaysian offshore field hurt crude oil production in the later part of 2010, while a one-time royalty payment helped boost its year-ago results.

Now what: I'd be cautious about pouncing on Murphy's plunging shares. Management also forecast a particularly wide profit range for the current quarter of $0.55-$0.95 per share, which was substantially below the average analyst estimate of $1.47 per share. Currently, integrated energy gorillas like ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX) both boast a much juicier dividend yield than Murphy, so there shouldn't be a shortage of safer bets in the space.

Interested in more info on Murphy? Add it to your watchlist.

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Chevron is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. The Fool owns shares of ExxonMobil. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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