Updated from 12:30 p.m. EDT

After mirroring a dismal performance by Japanese shippers, many shipping stocks that trade in the U.S. abruptly reversed course Friday.

Nippon Yusen reported an 88% drop in profit due to falling demand for shipping iron ore and containers, according to Bloomberg, sending the No. 1 Japanese shipper's stock sliding 3.9%. The marine transportation sector dropped 3.6%.

Shipping stocks initially fared no better on the U.S. exchanges, with essentially all firmly in the red at midmorning. By midday, however, many were on the plus side:

Excel Maritime ( EXM), at first the leader in percentage losses, was recently up 11.9% to $5.36.

DryShips ( DRYS) was up 17% to $6.

Genco Shipping ( GNK) was up 2.5% to $14.15.

Diana Shipping ( DSX) was up 4.2% to $13.28.

Eagle Bulk ( EGLE) was up 9.4% to $4.90.

Navios Maritime Holdings ( NM) was up 5.2% to $2.63.

Atwood Oceanics was down 5.1% to $17.58.

Horizon Lines ( HRZ) was down 1.7% to $3.56.

Star Bulk ( SBLK) was up 5% to $2.50.

Tidewater ( TDW) was falling 0.1% to $38.92.

Kirby ( KEX) was down 2.4% to $27.51.

Teekay Corp. ( TK) was down 6.2% to $15.47.

Frontline ( FRO) was losing 2.7% to $19.39, and Seacor Holdings ( CKH) was up 0.1% at $60.77.

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