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 specialty chemical manufacturer Albemarle (NYSE: ALB) were on a rocket ride today, gaining as much as 15% in intraday trading after the company announced first-quarter earnings.

So what: It's no wonder investors got excited -- Albemarle's first quarter looked pretty spiffy. Revenue of $697 million was 20% better than last year, while earnings per share soared 67% to $1.15. Both numbers left analyst expectations in the dust, as the average Wall Street estimate was for $0.96 in earnings per share on $636 million in revenue.

Now what: Recession? What recession? Albemarle made the bad times look like a dusty memory as the earnings today were the highest in the company's history. While management didn't give specific guidance for the rest of 2011, it noted that "positive market trends" will likely lead to "strong top and bottom-line growth in 2011." Not that that surprises the members of the Motley Fool CAPS community -- they currently have Albemarle's stock rated a perfect five stars.

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