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 oil and gas explorer Newfield Exploration Co. (NYSE:NFX) jumped as much as 10% today after reporting earnings.

So what: Fourth-quarter revenue was down 23% from a year ago, to $498 million, but that excludes $232 million from discontinued operations like the sale of Newfield's Malaysian business. Continued operations posted a net income of $31 million but, after pulling out one-time items like derivatives, earnings would have been $66 million, or $0.48 per share. That was $0.01 ahead of estimates. 

Now what: The focus on U.S. operations is paying off, and the Anadarko Basin, Williston Basin, and Eagle Ford all increased production significantly last year. When we account for the asset sales, including China, going forward, the revenue drop isn't what it first appears. I think the company is well positioned to grow as U.S. production increases, and it's doing so profitably.

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.