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 real estate development company St. Joe (NYSE:JOE) jumped as much as 17% earlier in the trading session, after reporting upbeat third-quarter earnings results.

So what: For the quarter, the company reported a big jump in revenue, to $55.9 million, from $26.7 million in the year-ago quarter, and a profit of $0.17 per share. Both figures crushed Wall Street's expectations. Of the $29.2 million increase in revenue, $18.3 million came from two rural land asset sales. More importantly, revenue at the company's clubs and resorts grew 9%, and the company prepaid some of its debt.

Now what: Still not a personal fan of St. Joe, even though the real estate market appears to have found some footing, but it is making tangible steps in the right direction. Debt is heading lower, resort revenue is moving higher, and it's disposing of assets for solid gains. A few more quarters like this one, and I may have to take a closer look at St. Joe again.

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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.