Updated from 6:02 p.m. EDT
shot higher for a second straight day Wednesday following better-than-expected earnings and an upgrade from a dry bulk shipping analyst.
The company's shares tacked on another $1.05, or 20%, after surging some 21% on Tuesday. They were changing hands Wednesday afternoon at $5.76 on nearly ten times the daily average volume. Despite the recent surge, Paragon stock is still down year-to-date, along with the dry-bulk sector in general, and well below its 52-week high of $22.61.
The Greek company attributed its better-than-expected performance in the first quarter to a "balanced chartering strategy," in which it essentially rents out its boats for a set period, locking in rates and avoiding the pricing vagaries of the marketplace. Paragon said in its earnings release after the bell Tuesday that 98% of its revenue days for the rest of 2009 are booked with charters.
In the quarter, Paragon reported adjusted earnings, excluding items, of $14.7 million, or 54 cents a share, flat with last year but better than analysts' EPS estimates of 50 cents. Time charter revenue inched up 3% from a year ago to $41.6 million.
The company also said it will pay a dividend of 5 cents a share on June 29, to shareholders as of May 29.
Also Tuesday, a shipping analyst at the boutique investment bank Dahlman Rose upgraded Paragon to buy from hold, setting a price target on the stock of $7. Other dry bulk stocks upgraded by Dahlman -- there were six in total -- traded sharply higher Wednesday:
Star Bulk Carriers
was up 15% and
Safe Bulk Carriers
was up 11%.
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