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 Russian mining and metals company Mechel OAO (NYSE:MTL) jumped 12% today after announcing a huge buyback program.

So what: Management announced a $100 million buyback program, which will be made on the open market or in private transactions. At today's stock price, that represents about 7.6% of the shares outstanding for the company.  

Now what: Share buybacks are one of the ways management can return cash to shareholders, and it is often preferred over dividends, because it raises earnings per share by lowering share count. Even before the announcement, shares traded at just 7 times forward earnings estimates, so with a lower share count, that figure could improve as long as expectations are met. This is a short-term catalyst for traders, but long-term, it's still about financial results, and with first-quarter revenue down 16% there are a lot of questions outstanding and I'd like to see finances improve before jumping in.

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