Shipping stocks were rising Thursday on better-than-expected earnings from Excel Maritime Carriers ( EXM).

Excel Maritime, a dry bulk shipping company based in Athens, Greece, on Wednesday reported earnings excluding items of $1.71 per share on $189.2 in revenue, well above the $1.04 per share on $123.53 that analysts had expected. Excel shares were recently rising 11.5% to $6.62.

Among Excel's dry bulk peers, DryShips ( DRYS) was rising 5.5% to $4.77. Diana Shipping ( DSX) was up 3.3% to $12.83. Genco Shipping ( GNK) was up 5.3% to $14.01. Eagle Bulk Shipping ( EGLE) was up 5.8% to $4.57.

In other news, Lazard Capital noted that it expects refined petroleum product demand to keep improving over 2009, and expects product tanker rates to improve over the next two months.

Elsewhere in the sector:

  • Navios Maritime (NM) was up 5.9% to $2.33.
  • Frontline (FRO) was up 1.6% to $18.03.
  • Tidewater (TDW) was up 3.7% to $40.59.
  • Teekay (TK) was up 3.5% to $14.37.