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 Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU), a memory chip manufacturer in the semiconductor sector, roared higher by as much as 12% after reporting its second-quarter earnings results.

So what: For the quarter, Micron reported a 3% increase in total revenue, to $2.08 billion, but saw its loss widen to $286 million, or $0.28, from $282 million in the year-ago period. Wall Street had been expecting a loss of just $0.20 per share, but the $2.08 billion in sales was markedly higher than the $1.92 billion consensus. What really has investors excited is the combination of lower manufacturing costs and improving margins that portend profitability could be right around the corner. It was this that prompted research firm Credit Suisse to boost its price target on Micron from $8, to $14, as it sees favorable memory supply keeping Micron’s margins and memory prices up.

Now what: If you don’t know a thing about cyclical businesses, just buy a memory chip producer and hang on for a few years, and you’ll be an expert in no time. The time to buy a company like Micron is when no one wants to own a memory chip producer, and the time to sell is shortly after they become profitable and supply becomes favorable. We’re probably getting toward the upper-end of its cyclical trading range; so, while I still favor some modest additional upside in the company, I’m not expecting a blockbuster return.

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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.