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 kiddie clothing retailer Children's Place (Nasdaq: PLCE) jumped as high as 12.5% today in heavy trading.

So what: Fourth-quarter sales fell short of analyst expectations, and the management outlook on the coming quarter and year wasn't terribly impressive. But Children's Place absolutely annihilated the Street view in terms of fourth-quarter earnings, beating the consensus target by a rosy-cheeked 21%.

Now what: The company easily exceeded its own fourth-quarter guidance, which gives investors some reason to disregard timid forecasts for the coming year. A $0.09 benefits to earnings per share from an aggressive buyback program sure helped, and that plan was also reupped today. This is what a properly executed cost-savings program can do in the face of slow sales.

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Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. 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.