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: Alon USA Energy, Inc. (NYSE: ALJ) popped 12% in intraday trading today after reporting a smaller-than-expected loss for the fourth quarter.

So what: Fourth-quarter non-GAAP EPS of -$0.37 beat the consensus estimate of -$0.46. GAAP EPS, which included unrealized losses on consignment inventory, was -$0.46.

Now what: The company's throughput increased and management expects it to continue improving, which bodes well for the revenue outlook. Management also said it expects "substantial improvement" in operating margin in 2011, another positive for the earnings outlook. The fourth-quarter upside and positive management comments suggest the company can continue narrowing its losses and potentially turn a profit.

Interested in more info on ALJ? Add it to your watchlist by clicking here.

Fool contributor Cindy Johnson does not own shares of any company named above. 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 has a disclosure policy.