Diana Shipping Inc. (DSX): What You Need To See

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Diana Shipping Inc. (NYSE:DSX)On Wednesday, Diana Shipping Inc. (NYSE:DSX) will release its latest quarterly results. The key to making smart investment decisions on stocks reporting earnings is to anticipate how they’ll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you’ll be less likely to make an uninformed knee-jerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.

The shipping industry has gone through huge economic imbalances in recent years, with a glut of vessels and weak levels of economic activity worldwide causing shipping rates to plunge. Diana Shipping Inc. (NYSE:DSX) has suffered its share of pain from the downturn, although it’s in much better shape than many of its peers. Let’s take an early look at what’s been happening with Diana Shipping Inc. (NYSE:DSX) over the past quarter and what we’re likely to see in its quarterly report.

Stats on Diana Shipping

Analyst EPS Estimate ($0.03)
Year-Ago EPS $0.25
Revenue Estimate $41.54 million
Change From Year-Ago Revenue (28%)
Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters 3

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

When will Diana Shipping stem the tide of red ink?
In recent months, analysts have gotten less optimistic about Diana Shipping Inc. (NYSE:DSX) and its earnings prospects, widening their first-quarter loss estimates by $0.02 per share and seeing full-year 2013 consensus loss estimates get worse by $0.06 per share. Yet investors have held out hope for a recovery, sending shares up 17% since mid-February.

For years, dry-bulk shipping has proven to be a dangerous industry. But bottom-fishing investors have apparently decided that the time is now for hard-hit shipping stocks to rebound, as one analyst believes that shipping rates could triple over the next couple of years. Well-known personality Jim Cramer actually recommended Diana specifically, but stocks throughout the industry soared in late March on hopes that the worst for the shipping industry could finally be history.

Even if the industry recovers more broadly, Diana Shipping Inc. (NYSE:DSX) has a key advantage over its peers: its balance sheet is in extremely good condition, with just $13.5 million in net debt. By contrast, rivals DryShips Inc. (NASDAQ:DRYS) and Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. (NYSE:NM) carry much more substantial levels of debt, and as a result, they have less flexibility to consider strategic moves to take advantage of the industry’s weak conditions. DryShips Inc. (NASDAQ:DRYS)’ move earlier this year to divest itself of the obligation to take delivery on some new vessels illustrates the cash-flow pressures that companies in the industry face right now.

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