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 long-distance networking specialist Riverbed Technology (Nasdaq: RVBD) connected with investors today, jumping as high as 17.5% on above-average trading volume.

So what: Riverbed just announced preliminary first-quarter sales of at least $163 million and pro forma earnings in the neighborhood of $0.19 per share, beating analyst targets on both counts. The market has yet to decided whether Riverbed is signaling generally good times for the networking sector or simply stealing share from its rivals: Chief competitors Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks (Nasdaq: JNPR) are trading sort of sideways today.

Now what: Here's what I think: Riverbed's network efficiency tools are a perfect fit for our budget-conscious times. Yes, bandwidth is becoming scarce all over the place, but throwing cash after the problem with big buys of Cisco gear no longer looks like the only obvious solution. If Riverbed's success is a sign of anything else, it'd be a positive signal for fellow efficiency experts Akamai Technologies (Nasdaq: AKAM) and Limelight Networks (Nasdaq: LLNW).

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