The dry bulk shipping market could use a Santa Claus rally right now, with some of the January Effect thrown in.
The Baltic Dry Index (BDI), the leading indicator for the dry bulk shipping industry, calculates the cost to ship raw materials in bulk around the world. And day after day in November and December, it kept sliding down to the point that some experts think it is finally nearing King Neptune’s rock bottom. Does that mean it’s finally a good time to invest?
Nothing out there seems to indicate any change anytime soon, according to The Specialist, a dry bulk industry watcher who contributes to Seeking Alpha. His call? “Something serious and unexpected will need to happen with China or I’m afraid the dry shipping industry, and likely its stocks, will be weak all next year.”
Actually, a closer look at freight rates shows that the overall BDI, which is a combined average of daily earnings from capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize dry bulk vessels, continues to drop, hitting a low of 782 points on Dec. 24. But the index for capesize vessels, which typically transport 15,000 tone cargoes like iron ore and coal, is inching up, with the rates for smaller panamax vessels dropping faster, dragging the whole index down, according to Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide.
We last covered a group of dry bulk shippers back in April when some of the optimists were suggesting they were gaining strength, thanks to “the recent rise in value of 10-year-old Panamax and Capesize ships”
There may have been some short turn gains, but there are few bulls out there now as we look toward 2015.
Safe Bulkers, Inc. (NYSE: SB), is an Athens, Greece-based international company that provides marine dry bulk transportation services. They currently own 32 vessels with an average age of 5.6 years including Panamax, Kamsarmax, Post-Panamax and Capesize class. Back when we last looked on April 28, SB closed at $7.97 with a market cap of $662.49 million. SB closed Dec. 29 at $3.94, down 13 cents for the day, with a market cap of $329 million. Its 52- week trading range is $3.77 – $11.48.
Also in Athens is Star Bulk Carriers Corp.(NASDAQ: SBLK), with a fleet of 103 vessels, and provides vessel management solutions to third party dry bulk shippers. SBLK closed back on April 28th at $11.82. SBLK closed Dec. 29 at $6.10, down 4 cents for the day, with a market cap of $555.3 million. Its 52-week trading range is $5.41 – $15.88.
Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. (NYSE: NM), based in Monte Carlo, is a company offering worldwide carriage, trading, logistics, and storage for international bulk cargo, and has been in operation for almost 60 years. They also own and operate one of the largest bulk terminals in Uruguay and one of the largest liquid ports in Paraguay. NM announced a series of leadership changes in late December, including naming Shunji Sasada President of Navios Corp. and a member of the board of Navios Holdings and Ted C. Petrone was appointed Vice Chair of Navios Corp. NM closed back on April 28 at $7.77 with a market cap of $785.64 million. NM closed Dec. 29 at $4.03, down 14 cents for the day, with a market cap of $418.3 million. Its 52-week trading range is $3.50 – $12.12.