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 hospital operator and healthcare services provider Kindred Healthcare (NYSE: KND) rose more than 15% in early trading after reporting big first-quarter profit gains.

So what: Revenue rose 9% to $1.2 billion, but profit from continuing operations soared 49% to $0.55 per share. Analysts had been calling for $0.48 a share on $1.19 billion in revenue, Yahoo! Finance reports.

Now what: Higher admissions helped create the gains. Overall admissions rose 10%. Admissions at facilities open at least a year rose 3%, The Associated Press reported. Both figures point to growing demand for its services.

This isn't too surprising. As the nation gets older, demand for healthcare services is expected to increase. Hospital operators and managed-care providers should see a good portion of the gains. Case in point: Humana (NYSE: HUM) is up today after raising guidance ahead of its May 2 earnings report.

Interested in more info on Kindred Healthcare? Add it to your watchlist.

Interested in more info on Humana? Add it to your watchlist.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. You can try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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