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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