Bellafiore pointed to some unusual call buying in DryShips options, which would indicate a bullish sentiment among traders.

Shares of DryShips closed Friday's session at $6.74, up 39 cents, or about 5%, on heavier-than-average volume, giving up some of their earlier gains.

Star Bulk Carriers ( SBLK) was another leading gainer in the sector, with its stock advancing 16 cents, or 4.6%, to $3.68. Another big mover was OceanFrieght ( OCNF); its shares closed Friday up 13 cents, or 8.7%, at $1.63.

Two big dry-bulk names were in the red, however. DryShips rivals Diana Shipping ( DSX) and Genco Shipping & Trading ( GNK) both slipped by about 1.2%, to $13.60 and $21.75, respectively.

Elsewhere, the gains were moderate. Navios Maritime Holdings ( NM) rose 1% to $5.05; Eagle Bulk ( EGLE) added 2.8% to $5.45; and Excel Maritime ( EXM) was up by just a penny to $7.21.

At the Jeffries conference in New York, which ran all day Wednesday, it was a who's who of high-level executives, including those from Navios, Genco, Diana, Excel, Eagle, DryShips, OceanFreight, Paragon Shipping ( PRGN), Safe Bulkers ( SBLK) and FreeSeas ( FREE).

-- 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, 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.

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