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 Allied Irish Banks (NYSE: AIB) rose more than 16% in intraday trading today on heavy volume.

So what: The news hasn't changed in Ireland. The country is still about to take a big bailout, the banks are still at the center of the problems, and bond investors are still highly skeptical. Why are Allied Irish Banks' shares up, then? Equity investors are continuing to speculate that there will be something left behind for them when all of the dust settles.

Now what: The Irish government just announced that it is significantly increasing its stake in the Bank of Ireland (NYSE: IRE). With its stake in Allied Irish Banks already set to reach 95%, the possibility of it following Anglo Irish Bank into fully nationalized status doesn't seem one bit crazy. I've been harping on it a fair bit lately, but I'll say it one more time -- Ireland is in a no-holds-barred battle to save its financial system; at best, shareholders in the banks will be an afterthought in this struggle. Unless you're replacing your racetrack betting with Allied Irish Banks shares, most investors are better off setting their sights elsewhere.

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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his Motley Fool CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or on his RSS feed. The Fool's disclosure policy assures you no Wookiees were harmed in the making of this article.