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 rare-earth element miner Molycorp (NYSE: MCP) jumped 10% when a bill to stockpile rare-earth elements was announced in Congress.

So what: Congressman Mike Coffman introduced the bill that would establish a stockpile of rare-earth elements from U.S. sources -- aka Molycorp and someday Rare Element Resources (AMEX: REE). The U.S. military consumes 5% of the world’s rare-earth element production. With China already stockpiling the elements, the bill views this as a point of national security.

Now what: Coffman introduced a similar bill last year that went nowhere and we could be headed for the same result. Opinions on the bill are mixed outside of Congress, including one group of scientists calling a stockpile a disincentive to innovation. The stockpile would also have the effect of increasing prices in the short term while new sources of supply start to ramp up. This is a catalyst short-term, but I’m leery of buying on this news today since a similar bill has failed in Congress before.

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