NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With dry-bulk stocks having sold off to new 52-week lows, driven down by crashing rates for the maritime transport of bulk raw materials like iron ore and coal, and with sentiment having turned strikingly bearish in July when it comes to this segment of the shipping business, a rather obvious notion has now appeared to have entered the minds of investors and stock-picker pundits all over the world: Is it time now to go long on dry bulk? Is the sector poised for the kind of run that can produce a double or a triple in stock prices?
It's happened before, of course -- and we're not talking about the epic bull run that occurred during the lead-up to the financial collapse of 2008. No, look no further than exactly a year ago, in the spring and early summer of 2009, when the Baltic Dry Index went from 1460 or so in April to nearly 4300 just two months later, sparked by a raw-materials buying binge in China and lighting a fire underneath dry-bulk stocks as well.
Over that April-June time frame,
Genco Shipping & Trading's
stock more than doubled. Shares of debt-laded
roared higher by nearly 150%. Even conservative
, which doesn't participate to the upside as much as its peers, saw its share price shoot higher by nearly 60% from April to June last year.
Though of course it's nearly impossible to time peaks and valleys, some pundits are looking (hoping?) for a sustained rally in dry bulk stocks to take hold at some point toward the end of 2010. And so we ask readers of
: what's the best dry bulk stock -- or stocks -- with which to play such a long-awaited turnaround?
Take the poll below to see what
consensus is on the question -- and don't be afraid to offer your own write-in vote for the shipping stock to play ahead of a coming wave.
-- Written by Scott Eden in New York
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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.