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 liquefied natural gas producer Cheniere Energy (AMEX: LNG) didn't just pop today. They exploded to gains as high as 44.4% in a sudden burst of apocalyptically heavy afternoon trading.

So what: The U.S. Department of Energy just gave Cheniere the go-ahead to export natural gas to any country that isn't under a trade embargo. That's the final approval that Cheniere wanted before moving ahead with an expansion of its bread-and-butter liquefaction operations in the Sabine Pass area.

Now what: Cheniere has a tendency to jump -- up or down -- on little or no news, but this event is the real deal. Before pumping your life savings into the dividend-dripping stock of Cheniere subsidiary Cheniere Energy Partners (AMEX: CQP), please consider that this government approval simply started a long-term project, and that the Sabine liquefaction operation won't ship gas out of the expanded facility until 2015. In the meantime, the company must deal with a crushing debt load and spotty earnings.

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