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 Northern Oil and Gas (AMEX: NOG) climbed 10% in intraday trading Wednesday on fairly typical volume.

So what: The shares have been clobbered over the past several weeks on several controversial short reports, so it's no surprise that today's rally in oil prices is sparking a "squeezing" effect of sorts. Not too long ago, Northern had been considered a particularly potent play on the Bakken Shale, but red flags raised over its reverse merger status, accounting practices, and possible sweetheart deals (among other things) have turned the stock into a day trader's paradise.

Now what: Expect the impassioned tug-of-war to continue. Of course, given its rapid production and cash flow growth -- and most importantly, its debtless balance sheet -- Northern's fundamentals should give shareholders some much-needed peace of mind going forward. Only time will tell who'll win out in this latest episode of longs vs. shorts, but based on material facts, I'd have to bet (cautiously) on the bulls at this point.

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