ATHENS, Greece ( TheStreet) -- Diana Shipping ( DSX) was among the New York Stock Exchange's biggest gainers Tuesday, thanks to a healthy buy rating from Goldman Sachs ( GS).

Diana Shipping shares soared 6.2% in afternoon trading amid heavy volume. More than 2.3 million shares were in play with just over two hours left in the trading session, compared with their average daily trading volume of just 717,000 shares.

Analysts from Goldman Sachs initiated coverage of the dry-bulk shipper with a buy rating and $17 price target, which represents a 34.6% upside to Diana's closing price Tuesday of $12.63.

Goldman's bullish rating cited that 60% of Diana's fleet is chartered out through at least the second half of 2012. The firm estimated that Diana has $1 billion in cash and debt capacity to take advantage of expected vessel acquisition opportunities. Goldman also likes Diana's disciplined management team.

Diana recently posted third-quarter net income of $33.8 million earlier this month, up 17.8% from a profit of $28.7 million in the third quarter of 2009.

Rival DryShips ( DRYS) reported earnings of 18 cents per share, or $49 million. Excluding one-time items the income number would have come in at $99 million, or 38 cents per share, easily besting the consensus Wall Street estimate of 25 cents per share.

Quarterly revenue inched higher by 1.4% to $225.2 million from a year ago, also beating expectations.

DryShips finally made good this fall on promises regarding its long-floundering drilling business, inking contracts on several vessels that had still required financing.

On Monday, DryShips' stock pushed higher on word that its Ocean Rig UDW subsidiary signed a $77 million contract with Borders & Southern Petroleum for a 2-well exploration and drilling pact in the offshore Falkland Islands area for a period of 90 days, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2011.

>>DryShips Trades Higher on Drill Deal

DryShips shares were 1.5% lower Tuesday afternoon.

Dry-bulk shipping peer FreeSeas ( FREE) saw its shares edge 0.3% lower.

The operator of drybulk carriers posted a net loss of $9.5 million, or $1.51 per share, for the third quarter, compared with a profit of $465,000, or 8 cents per share, in the year-earlier period.

FreeSeas' revenue pushed up 5.3% to $13.8 million.

Paragon Shipping ( PRGN) shares fell 1.4% Tuesday afternoon.

Analysts from Cantor Fitzgerald maintained a buy rating on Paragon but recently lowered their price target on the stock by $1 to $5.

"We now look for Paragon to report 2010 earnings per share of 39 cents (from 33 cents) and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $65 million (from $67 million)," the equities research firm noted.

"For 2011, we look for PRGN to generate EPS of 40 cents and EBITDA of $70 million. We note that our 2011 estimates assume the company's open vessels achieve an average daily rate of $18,000 for the Handymaxes."

Like FreaSeas, Euroseas ( ESEA) swung to a quarterly loss. The shipper posted lower revenue and hedging benefits, and said rates continued to soften.

Euroseas posted a smaller-than-expected loss but revenue came in shy of expectations.

The dry-bulk carrier saw its shares fall 2% in afternoon trading Tuesday.

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

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