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DryShips Sails Past Estimates


Shipping company exceeds expectations in first quarter.


Ever see a building under construction and wonder where all that steel, metal and cement comes from? Well, the answer isn't so simple. In some cases, raw materials and the end product might be obtained from local sources, while in others raw materials and the end product may have to travel great distances over the open seas.

Enter DryShips (DRYS), a Greece-based company that, according to its website, carries "iron and steel products, fertilizers, minerals, forest products, ores, bauxite, alumina, cement and other construction materials."

DryShips has seen a fair amount of demand for its wares recently, as evidenced by its first quarter earnings results. According to CNBC:

Quarterly income rose to $176.3 million, or $4.61 per share, from $67.8 million, or 1.91 per share, last year. Results include a gain of 64 cents per share from selling ships and a loss of 16 cents per share from valuation of interest rate swaps. Excluding one-time items, net income was $4.13 per share. Meanwhile, revenue more than doubled to $232.1 million from $86.7 million from last year.

This looks like good news for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, the company had been expected to earn just $4.05 a share on $218.6 million in revenue. In this market, a solid "beat" like that has the potential to garner some serious attention from retail and institutional investors.

Also, because its first quarter earnings per share were so far ahead of the consensus number, there's a fair chance we could see the sell-side disseminate favorable research (i.e. new coverage or an upgrade of existing opinion, or an increase in annual forecasts). If that were to happen, it could drive the stock as well in the days ahead.

There is, however, a potential downside to this story. DryShips has been growing at a breakneck clip. But what happens if that growth slows, or if the company were to stumble in some way? That could be trouble.

Another concern is that DryShips has been actively acquiring vessels. For example, between March and April it announced the purchase of four ships totaling more than $450 million. But what happens to that strategy if business stumbles, or if it acquires something it didn't expect? That could put the kibosh on the stock as well.

DryShip's earnings were solid and the most impressive part was the exceeding of expectations by a large margin. However, the company's ability to continue to grow at this rate is anything but guaranteed.

The shares were up more than two points in after-hours trading on Monday.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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