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 fashion retailer The Buckle (NYSE: BKE) were looking spiffy today as they rose as much as 12% in intraday trading.

So what: From the "better than the very low expectations" file came today's sales reports from U.S. retailers. While analysts were looking for weak numbers, most companies, including Costco (Nasdaq: COST) and Limited Brands (NYSE: LTD), blew away expectations. The beleaguered Gap (NYSE: GPS) was one of the few that missed expectations as it posted a 10% drop in same-store sales.

And what of Buckle? Analysts were expecting the chain to show a same-store sales decline of 1.2%, and they weren't even close. Sales for stores open at least a year for the five weeks ending April 2 were up 8.4%.

Now what: Could the death of the consumer just be an ugly rumor? Today's numbers from around the retail world make it look like they're at least giving it a Rocky-like effort ("Get up ... 'cause Mickey loves ya!"). As for Buckle, the sales numbers are certainly a good sign, but it's hard to take away too much from a single five-week snapshot. Investors are currently paying roughly 15 times forward earnings for the stock, which is probably a pretty reasonable price if the company is really finding some more fuel in its growth engine.

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