NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The volatility has dried up. The trading volumes have plunged. The money has fled.
Is DryShips even a dry-bulk carrier? Some argue that it isn't, what with its push into the oil-rig business and its recent controversial acquisition of a dozen oil-tanker orders, allegedly unloaded onto DryShips by its CEO, George Economou, who controls a private fleet. (The company has denied the allegation.) DryShips promises to reward shareholders by spinning off the two fleets (rigs, tankers) into two separate companies. But tanker market fundamentals are abysmal, and the most-recent shipping IPOs have been duds. Income Statement
DryShips hasn't set a date for its fourth-quarter earnings report. Wall Street analysts are targeting a bottom line of 25 cents a share on revenue of $220 million. That would mark improvement over the fourth period of 2009, when the company earned 19 cents a share, on revenue of $193 million. Analyst Ratings
Sentiment among the nine analysts covering DryShips is evenly split between bears and bulls. Four analyst rate the stock at the equivalent of strong buy and four at hold. One analyst, meanwhile, has a strong sell rating on the stock.
Praised for its conservatism and balance-sheet caution in an industry not otherwise known for such things, Diana Shipping has moved into the only sector of the broader maritime shipping industry that has performed well: container ships. After an even more disastrous run amid the financial crisis than either dry bulk or oil tankers, container shipping has rebounded strongly throughout 2010 as trade in finished goods around the globe has improved with the end of the recession. Diana plans to offer 80% of the container fleet later this month, on Jan. 18, to shareholders of record Jan. 3. Income Statement
For fourth-quarter earnings, analysts expect Diana to post 41 cents a share. Revenue is forecast at about $70 million. A year ago, Diana earned 34 cents a share, on revenue of $57 million. Analyst Ratings
Diana is well liked by Wall Street. Of the 14 analysts covering the company, 12, or 86%, have strong buy ratings on the stock. Just two have hold ratings.
Judging by the trailing 12-month price-to-earnings ratio, Excel Maritime stock is the cheapest in the sector. The company, along with DryShips, has been one of the more volatile names in the sector in its history as a public name. But Excel has been striving to pay down debt it took on after ill-timed ship acquisition back in 2008, on the cusp of the financial crisis. Income Statement
Analysts are looking for Excel to report 17 cents a share for the fourth quarter, on revenue of $107 million. A year ago, the company earned 95 cents a share on revenue of $103 million. Analyst Ratings
The eight analysts covering Excel are evenly split. Half have strong buy ratings and the other half holds.
Genco made an epic bet this past summer when it acquired 13 dry bulk ships for about a half-billion dollars. Even at the time, the move was seen as highly risky, like buying a call option on the Baltic Dry Index. Combined with the company's heavy exposure to the spot market, it's easy to see why Genco's shares have underperformed even its peers among the bulkers. Though the moves haven't paid off, at least they don't threaten to sink the whole company. Genco's sister shipping company, the tanker operator General Maritime ( GMR), may have problems in the future, some market participants warn, after it made a big tanker acquisition last year. Income Statement
The Wall Street forecast for Genco's fourth quarter is calling for a profit of $1.04 a share, on revenue of $130 million. In the fourth period of 2009, Genco earned $1.13 a share, on revenue of $96 million. Analyst Ratings
Of the 12 analysts covering Genco, nine rate the company at strong buy. Three have holds opinions on the stock. -- Written by Scott Eden in New York