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 AK Steel Holding Corporation (NYSE:AKS) jumped as much as 11% today after it reported first-quarter earnings.

So what: Revenue in the quarter jumped 27% to $1.75 billion, which was slightly ahead of estimates. But the company's net loss more than tripled to $306.3 million, or $1.72 per share. Even on an adjusted basis, which pulls out one-time items like a $256.3 million impairment on its investment in Magnetation LLC, the company lost $0.28 per share, $0.03 worse than estimates. 

Now what: Management blamed a decline in selling price per ton from $1,096 a year ago to $999 in the quarter on what it believes are "unfairly traded foreign steel imports." While that might be the case, AK Steel was still able to grow volumes enough to more than overcome the decline in prices.

Lower sale prices may not be a good sign, but if they improve and AK Steel and others are able to get the government to clamp down on imports, there's significant upside available. That's what investors are focusing on today, although I would like to see some evidence of a financial turnaround before buying in.

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.