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 medical device maker CR Bard (NYSE: BCR) are in free fall today, down 11% as of this writing.

So what: Bard reported earnings last night -- and I use that word euphemistically. Actually, Bard didn't earn anything at all. It lost $0.55 per share, despite growing sales more than 7%.

Now what: Bard bulls will point out that by the more forgiving metric of adjusted earnings, Bard actually met Wall Street's expectations, recording pro forma profit of $1.57 per share.

Bears, on the other hand, may argue that generally accepted accounting principles are "generally accepted" for a reason. (And that if management wants to convince us otherwise, it really should have included a cash flow statement with its earnings release.) According to these numbers Bard did release, the company only really earned about $347 million over the past 12 months -- its worst trailing-12-month result since full-year 2006. Based on these latest numbers, Bard shares now cost nearly 25 times earnings, which is quite a price to pay for a company only expected to grow its earnings at 11% per year over the next five years.

As for me, I'm with the ursine types among us. Until Bard puts out a cash flow statement and proves otherwise, the conservative thing to do is assume this news really is as bad as it looks.

Will Rich's pessimism prove prescient, or will Bard show us the money, and prove there's real money to show? Add it to your watchlist and find out.

Fool contributor Rich Smith holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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.