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 real estate investment company RAIT Financial Trust (NYSE: RAS) were clobbered today, losing as much as 14% after the company reported first-quarter earnings.

So what: I'll be honest: I'm not really all that sure what got investors all worked up today. RAIT is not a company in good shape -- it got beaten up badly during the real estate meltdown, and it's been trying to stagger back to life. However, the first-quarter results seem to show momentum in the right direction. Earnings per share might have been down drastically from last year, but savvy investors should know that that's not really the best way to measure RAIT's quarter-to-quarter performance. Adjusted funds from operations per share, meanwhile, doubled from last year despite a big increase in the share count. Other metrics looked promising as well -- debt-to-equity ratio continued to fall, assets under management looks like it may be stabilizing, and the principal amount of non-accrual loans also continued to fall.

Now what: Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to paint a picture of RAIT that suggests it's fine and dandy, because it's not. And it should be noted that profitability improvements were driven by a huge year-over-year decline in loan-loss provisions, which is largely a best guess on management's part that could prove to be wrong. However, I'm not quite sure that the numbers in the earnings release justify the drubbing that the stock's taking today.

Do you think I'm wrong and that the sell-off is justified? Head down to the comments section and let me know why.

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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not have a financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or on his RSS feed. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.