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 natural gas producer and explorer Williams Companies (NYSE: WMB) jumped as much as 13.7% in early action today on about 10 times the average trading volume.

So what: Williams reported earnings this morning, beating earnings expectations by $0.02 per share. But that wasn't the big news: Williams also announced a plan to split into two separate companies.

Now what: This was a long-expected move and a welcome one, as investors will get to pick whether they want to buy Williams' exploration business or the production side of things. Marathon Oil (NYSE: MRO) made a similar move in January and was immediately rewarded with a 10% share price jump of its own. Analysts expect El Paso (NYSE: EP) to follow these trendsetters, which explains El Paso's smaller jump today.

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

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. The Fool owns shares of El Paso. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.