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: In an unusual move for a stock with a market cap of more than $37 billion, Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) popped 12% in intraday trading today after reporting a much, much better than expected quarter.

So what: EPS of -$0.38 trounced the consensus estimate of a $0.61 loss. It reflected a $1.02 per share charge for the conversion of preferred stock held by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group during the quarter.

Now what: Revenue of $9.3 billion was not only more than analysts had forecasted, but it also  puts the $7.3 billion of revenue that arch rival Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE: GS) just reported to shame. The surprisingly strong top and bottom lines are a change of pace for a too-big-to-fail bank that has lagged rivals for years. Performance improved across the firm, leading at least one analyst to conclude the quarter could mark "an inflection point for the company that gets the stock on a long-term path to a higher multiple."

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Fool contributor Cindy Johnson does not own shares of any company named above. We Fools may not 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.