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 real estate investor Ashford Hospitality Trust (NYSE: AHT) soared nearly 15% on huge volume after reporting better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and the sale of one of its hotel properties for $96 million.

So what: Ashford, which administers a broad portfolio of hotel-related investments, booked $0.40 in Q4 funds from operations. Analysts were expecting just $0.37. Management attributed the outperformance to cost discipline as operating margin for hotels not under renovation improved by 384 basis points.

Now what: Liquidity matters for a company like Ashford, which uses billions debt for investing in capital projects. Fortunately, the balance sheet is improving. A $1.8 billion interest rate swap executed in October will produce $32 million in annual savings, management said in a press release.

Similarly, the company's sale of the JW Marriott San Francisco to an affiliate of Thayer Lodging Group generated enough proceeds to pay off a $47.5 million loan secured by the property and reduce additional borrowings, the company said in a statement. Maybe now's the time to take a closer look at Ashford and its REIT peers?

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader. 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 also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy is at least 10% better than other disclosure policies.