Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Monday's trading was relatively quiet, with mixed performance from major stock market benchmarks as investors seemed largely content to allow 2013 to come to a close with current gains in hand. The Dow rose slightly while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both eased downward, but Trina Solar (NYSE:TSL), Yingli Green Energy (NYSE:YGE), and Kronos Worldwide (NYSE:KRO) all made solid gains.

Trina Solar jumped almost 7% after the Chinese solar company announced a 1-gigawatt utility-scale solar power plant deal with a local government entity in western China. The deal includes expectations to complete 300 megawatts of production capacity next year, with Trina also building a photovoltaic-module manufacturing plant in the Turpan Prefecture area. The deal vaults Trina into the ranks of utility-scale solar players and marks yet another milestone in the company's impressive recovery over the past year.

Yingli Green Energy gained 8%, largely in sympathy with peer Trina's announcement. It's only natural to lump Yingli and other Chinese solar stocks together, especially given China's recent initiatives to develop as much as 35 gigawatts of solar generation capacity in the coming years. Yet as Fool solar expert Travis Hoium observed this morning, Yingli has a lot more debt than Trina and other major players in the Chinese solar space. That debt could hold Yingli back from taking advantage of key future opportunities, making Trina and competitors Canadian Solar and JinkoSolar look more attractive from a profit-potential standpoint.

Kronos Worldwide jumped 8% as investors reacted to the death of board chairman and majority shareholder Harold Simmons over the weekend. Shareholders believe that without Simmons at the helm, the company might be more likely to become an acquisition target. NL Industries (NYSE:NL), which Simmons also controlled, rose 9% as well, showing the influence that the leader had over his set of corporate holdings.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter: @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.