Here’s What’s Fueling The Irrational Rally In Shipping Stocks

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November 17, 2016 9:45am NASDAQ:DRYS NASDAQ:SINO

Sino-Global Shipping America, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SINO) just became the latest container ship company to see its shares rise well over 1,000% in the past week.

SINO joins DryShips and Diana ContainerShips in the frenzied rally that actually caused DryShips to be halted for the entire trading day yesterday, and now into today. There’s no word on when DRYS will resume trading, as Nasdaq attempts to find out what exactly is leading to these unprecedented gains. [Update: Nasdaq says DRYS will resume trading at 10:30am today.]

These companies have gone from nearly-bankrupt penny stocks to incredible gainers almost overnight. Benzinga has a possible explanation as to why:

One of the primary reasons for the extreme moves in DryShips and other shipping stocks is a combination of large short positions in the stocks and extremely low share counts. DryShips in particular lowered its share count from around 672 million to only around 1 million via a series of reverse stock-splits throughout the year. The splits were intended to allow the stock to maintain its Nasdaq listing after it had lost more than 98 percent of its value in the first 10 months of 2016.

Even industry insiders are suspicious of the move. Euroseas Chief Financial Officer Tasos Aslidis told Benzinga rising shipping rates have been “significant, but not to the point of justifying such wild moves in [stock] price.”

A few other reasons are floating around as well, including a sharp uptick in the Baltic Dry Index, which has been rising steadily over the past few months. Another explanation is the successful bankruptcy liquidation of Korea’s Hanjin Shipping Co, whose assets sold at a higher than expected price.

The Fly also points out that shipping rates are sharply rising:

The day rates for the most popular large dry bulk vessels, capesizes, soared by more than 10% overnight — which is now fueling the speculative fires in the bulkers this morning.

Finally, a major Taiwanese government bailout of its two largest shipping companies, Evergreen Marine Corp. and Yang Ming Marine Transport, was just approved. This $1.9 billion package may be giving hope to other nearly-bankrupt shippers that they too could see some government help coming their way.

Whatever the true catalysts, the moves in these stocks are highly irregular and completely irrational. We continue to urge investors to stay away from them as a result.

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