Dry Bulk Winners & Losers: The Sector Stalls

Dry Bulk shares slip Monday after shipping rates weaken late last weak.
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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Dry bulk stocks were broadly lower Monday, continuing a downward trend that has characterized the sector since June.

Spot rates for Capesize ships, the largest class of dry-bulk vessels, fell off late last week as iron-ore shipping activity between Australia and China and Brazil and China appeared to slow down.

The Baltic Exchange, which tracks those rates, was closed Monday for a U.K. bank holiday, but on Friday the Capesize spot rate fell below $38,000 a day. That's down sharply from 2009 highs of more than $90,000, reached in May and June, when China was in the midst of a manic ore-stockpiling program.

Also late last week, Chinese high officials indicated that they "resolutely" wish to curtail industrial production, which had gone nearly haywire this year on a wave of easy lending and government stimulus programs. Indeed, some reports say that Chinese steel manufacturing in August has notched another monthly output record.

Executives of China's biggest steel producer, Boashan Iron & Steel, said Monday morning that demand will buoy steel prices in the near term but that the overall pace of economic recovery "won't be fast." Metals analyst Anthony Rizzuto, of the investment firm Dahlman Rose, interpreted the Boashan comments as further evidence that China intends to ease back on its recent growth by curbing lending.

Word of Chinese industrial curtailment has weighed on global commodities prices, steel prices, and the dry-bulk shipping sector,

whose prospects are intimately tied

to the subtlest vicissitudes of the Chinese economy.

Among marine-transport equities Monday afternoon,

DryShips

(DRYS) - Get Report

had fallen 29 cent, or nearly 5%, to $5.83;

Diana Shipping

(DSX) - Get Report

lost 47 cents, or 3.5%, to $13.10;

Genco Shipping & Trading

(GNK) - Get Report

gave up $1.06, or 5%, to $19.59; and

Safe Bulkers

(SB) - Get Report

declined 31 cents, or 4%, to $7.39.

Navios Maritime

(NM) - Get Report

, meanwhile, fell 20 cents, or 4.3%, to $4.50;

Excel Maritime

(EXM)

fell 34 cents, or 4.8%, to $6.78;

Eagle Bulk

(EGLE) - Get Report

retreated 22 cents, or 4%, to $5.03; and

FreeSeas

(FREE)

lost 7 cents, or 4%, to $1.63.

Volumes across the board were fairly light in the week leading up to Labor Day.

-- Reported by Scott Eden in New York

Scott Eden has covered business -- both large and small -- for more than a decade. Prior to joining TheStreet.com, he worked as a features reporter for Dealmaker and Trader Monthly magazines. Before that, he wrote for the Chicago Reader, that city's weekly paper. Early in his career, he was a staff reporter at the Dow Jones News Service. His reporting has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Men's Journal, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, and the Believer magazine, among other publications. He's also the author of Touchdown Jesus (Simon & Schuster, 2005), a nonfiction book about Notre Dame football fans and the business and politics of big-time college sports. He has degrees from Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.