Shipping stocks were mixed Wednesday, with DryShips ( DRYS) shares sinking after the company swung to a fourth-quarter loss.

DryShips reported early Wednesday that it had suffered a $1.02 billion loss, or $18.42 per share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2008, compared with net income of $194.4 million, or $5.35 per share, for the same period in 2007. Excluding charges and items, net income for the quarter was $23.5 million, or 43 cents per share. Analysts had expected EPS of 66 cents, according to Yahoo! Finance.

DryShips said that pending talks with banks regarding loan covenants -- a thorn in the side of many shippers -- it will have reclassified $1.8 billion in debt as short-term.

DryShips CEO George Economou said that despite the challenges his company faces given the economic downturn, he remains "cautiously optimistic." Investors, meanwhile, appeared less convinced. Shares were recently falling 11.1% to $4.91.

Elsewhere:

  • Genco Shipping (GNK) was down 5.1% to $13.55.
  • Diana Shipping (DSX) was down 0.6% to $12.70.
  • Eagle Bulk ( EGLE) was down 1.8% to $4.37.

    Among the day's winners:
  • Horizon Lines (HRZ) was rising 7.6% to $3.83.
  • Excel Maritime (EXM) was rising 0.9% to $4.62.
  • Star Bulk (SBLK) was up 2.6% to $2.36.
  • Teekay Corp. (TK) was up 1% to $15.77.
  • Frontline (FRO) rose 0.2% to $20.02.
  • Seacor Holding (CKH) rose 0.9% to $60.52.
  • Tidewater (TDW) rose 2.3% to $38.90.
  • Kirby (KEX) rose 1.2% to $26.11.
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