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: Alon USA Energy (NYSE: ALJ) popped 13% in intraday trading today after earnings walloped consensus expectations.

So what: Non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.34 compared favorably with a loss of $0.91 in the year-ago quarter and the consensus estimate of $0.21. Net sales almost tripled year over year, thanks to increases in volume and, to a lesser extent, prices.

Now what: Profits are benefiting primarily from higher revenue and secondarily from ongoing initiatives to improve profitability at the company's Krotz Springs refinery. Alon restarted its California refineries at the end of March and expects them to be fully operational in June, suggesting that volumes can continue to improve significantly into the third quarter. Although pricing could be a drag on the top line going forward, higher volumes and productivity initiatives suggest that earnings estimates are too low. 

Interested in more info on Alon USA? Add it to My Watchlist.

Fool contributor Cindy Johnson owns no shares of any company named above. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.