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: Most of the solar sector jumped on news that the Obama administration is committed to continue supporting loans for clean-energy companies, despite the risks. Shares of First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR), in particular, surged 11% before closing up 6%.

So what: It's a big step for the feds in the wake of the scandal at Solyndra. But it's also probably the right move if the long-term goal is reducing dependence on fossil fuel alternatives. Falling panel prices have cut into company profits even as U.S. solar installations have doubled over the past year, The Associated Press reported.

Now what: Judging by today's action, investors consider First Solar to be one of the likely long-term winners. Others to close up big today were Chinese operators JA Solar (Nasdaq: JASO) and LDK Solar (NYSE: LDK), both rallying more than 10%. Would you buy shares of any of these three stocks at current prices? Do you prefer one to the others? Please weigh in using the comments box below.

Interested in more info on First Solar? Add it to your watchlist.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

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