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 Stage Stores (NYSE: SSI) soared more than 13% in early trading on heavy volume. Investors bid up the stock after the company reported better than expected fourth-quarter results.

So what: Revenue for the small town retailer grew 5% to $453.7 million. Profits improved 19% to $0.86 per share. Analysts were expecting $452.94 million and $0.85 a share, respectively, according to data supplied by Yahoo! Finance.

Now what: This isn't a rising-retail-environment-lifts-all-retail-stocks story. Edgy clothier Urban Outfitters (Nasdaq: URBN) is taking a 16% beating today thanks to a Q4 earnings miss. Investors don't expect as much from slower-growth Stage. As a result, they're enjoying the fruits of an upside surprise.

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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.