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 companies in the oil and gas industry shot higher today as the stock market and oil prices all rose sharply. Pioneer Drilling (AMEX: PDC), Tesco (Nasdaq: TESO), Gulf Island Fabrication (Nasdaq: GIFI), and Northern Oil & Gas (AMEX: NOG) all rose more than 10%, leading the way for the energy industry.

So what: Oil has spiked 3.6% today, rebounding after a week of worry over Europe's debt problems kept the fuel source near recent lows. The price of oil has a strong impact on service providers because producers will stop drilling if prices get too low, and there was fear that the downturn in prices would be long-lasting given Europe's extensive problems. For today, that fear has subsided, and the energy industry is hot again.

Now what: Everyone from driller Precision Drilling (NYSE: PDS) to do-everything service company Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) and explorers such as Kodiak Oil & Gas (NYSE: KOG) traded sharply higher today given oil's movement. Just as with oil, many of these stocks have been down in the dumps recently, so the move today is a welcome sight.

The news out of Europe and the U.S. was positive today, but I would be cautious placing a big bet on a recovery and, therefore, oil at this point. Europe has a long way to go before its debt problems are over, and with growth still anemic in the U.S., I don't anticipate a sharp rise in oil prices in the near future. It might be prudent to sell the highs and buy the lows right now, because oil is probably in a bit of a holding pattern until we get an indication one way or the other of where the economy is headed.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.