24-05-2021 Why US-listed stocks Dry bulk kept rising as capesize rates dipped, By Joe Brady, TradeWinds
No shipping sector fared better than dry bulk in the US equity markets as the average shipowner ended Friday with a 8% one-week gain even as capesize rates slid more than 5%. So those looking for a simple correlation between the physical and stock markets might wonder what is happening.
But for Jefferies lead shipping analyst Randy Giveans, it is just another sign that dry bulk increasingly has its believers among investors. “Small asset classes are still on the rise, the FFA curve remains firm, and time charter rates are being fixed at strong rates,” Giveans said in an interview with TradeWinds. “And management teams are showing they are being good stewards of capital, net asset values keep rising, and investors are now more confident that this recent rally is more than just a flash in the pan.”
All that was good enough for dry bulk to lead the pack in a week when shipping shares gained 5.1% overall, once again outpacing the S&P 500 and the small-cap Russell 2000 index, which both lost 0.4%. “This is starting to sound like a broken record: another week of shipping outperforming the broader indices,” Giveans said.
Along those lines, US-listed shipping shares have now gained 66% year to date and 46% year over year. The dry trade saw double-digit gains from Diana Shipping, the top shipping performer overall with a 17% spike, and Genco Shipping & Trading with a 10% climb. Eagle Bulk Shipping and Navios Maritime Partners both surged 9%.
While dry bulk shares decoupled from the physical market, tanker shares were correlated with a 7% climb. “VLCC rates surged and sentiment improved following possible news around Iranian sanctions being lifted, with more to come this week,” Giveans said. Jefferies reported that average VLCC rates increased 60% to $10,064, while rates of the largest product tankers, LR2s, jumped 36% to $9,300. Frontline was the biggest individual gainer in tankers and second overall with a 13% jump after announcing it had swooped on six VLCC newbuilding resales for $566.8m, with founder John Fredriksen bullish on the market in comments to TradeWinds.
Frontline will gain the spotlight again on Thursday at it reports quarterly earnings. Scorpio Tankers, the world’s largest product tanker owner, led the clean sector with a 12% advance after another purchase of call options on the stock by president Robert Bugbee.
Every shipping sector gained ground, as did 27 of the 31 stocks under Jefferies’ coverage. Containership owners had another strong week with a 6% advance, led by Israeli liner operator Zim at 13%. LNG shipowners gained 2% and LPG carrier owners edged up 1%.