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 construction-equipment maker Astec Industries (Nasdaq: ASTE) were zooming ahead today, gaining as much as 12% in intraday trading after the company reported fourth-quarter results.

So what: For the final quarter of the year, Astec posted total sales of $263 million, up 38% from the prior year. Earnings per share also showed strong growth, with the $0.35-per-share tally tacking on 35% from 2010. Excluding a one-time hit from the sale of a product group, the company earned $0.41 per share. The results were driven in a big way by international sales, which jumped from $71 million in the fourth quarter of 2010 to $116 million last year.

Wall Street had been expecting the company to report $0.39 in per-share profit on $227 million in sales.

Now what: The torrid growth in Astec's international sales suggest the company has set itself up well for success in faster-growing areas of the world. And included in CEO Don Brock's written statement was the reminder that the company started a joint venture in Brazil during the year.

These are certainly the markets that investors can be excited about Astec entering, but the results in the quarters and years ahead will still depend on solid execution and, if we're lucky, a healthier global economy.

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