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: For the first time in a long time, investors in Hawaiian banker Central Pacific Financial (NYSE: CPF) had something to smile about today. After two years of swimming in red ink, the company reported a profit. Just $4.6 million, mind you -- but enough to send the shares spiking 10% in early morning trading.

So what: The initial surge in investor optimism has receded from the early morning highs, of course. Like the tides that surround CP's home island, such enthusiasm waxes and wanes. What we really want to know, though, is whether CP can keep its profits rising.

Now what: New CEO John Dean promised to do just that, and says "continued improvement in our asset quality" will make the task easier. (In the first quarter, CP was able to book a $1.6 million credit on loan loss reserves, as the risk of default among its debtors abated.) What's more, the U.S. government seems to agree. Earlier this year, it allowed CP to pay back $325 million in TARP funds, confirming Dean's assessment that the company now has a "solid capital foundation in place," and is ready to get back to making money for its shareholders.

How will Central Pacific Financial fare in the years ahead? Add it to your watchlist and find out.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own (or short) shares of Central Pacific Financial. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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