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: As oil prices took off earlier today, shares of Clayton Williams Energy (Nasdaq: CWEI) surged more than 10% in early trading on above average volume. The stock closed up 9% as crude prices ended above $100 per barrel for the first time in two weeks, The Associated Press reported.

So what: Oil rose $0.57 on the day to close at $100.36 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude rose $0.12 to $109.98 a barrel. The higher prices could mean more profits for Gulf-area explorers such as Clayton Williams. Related winners included Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK) and Sand Ridge Energy (NYSE: SD). Both stocks closed up more than 6% on the day.

Now what: Analysts have been predicting higher crude prices heading into 2012. Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), meanwhile, is advising clients to bet on July 2012 Brent crude futures on the theory that a "tight physical market" resembling that of late 2007 could set the stage for a surge in oil prices. Do you agree? Would you buy shares of Clayton Williams Energy at current prices? Please weigh in using the comments box below.

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