Hits: 3496

From Yahoo News:

Analysts downgrade oil tankers on fears that shipping rates will dwindle in economic weakness

NEW YORK (AP) -- A pair of analysts downgraded several oil tanker companies on Monday, predicting that shipping rates might have reached their peaks as the global economy weakens and an influx of ships approaches the market.

Jefferies analyst Douglas Mavrinac cut shares of Frontline Ltd. and Nordic American Tanker Shipping Ltd. to "Underperform" from "Hold," citing both companies' heavy reliance on the spot charter market, where rates could be "significantly weaker" in 2009.

Mavrinac also lowered his rating on Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd. and Overseas Shipholding Group Inc. to "Hold" from "Buy," suggesting the stocks have little room to grow if shipping rates fall as expected next year.

The analyst also cut his 2009 earnings estimates and price targets for most of the oil tanker stocks he covers.

Also Monday, JPMorgan analyst Jonathan B. Chappell cut his rating on Nordic American Tanker Shipping to "Underweight" from "Neutral," and downgraded General Maritime Corp. and Teekay Tankers Ltd. to "Neutral" from "Overweight." The analyst suggests that earnings will be dragged down as tanker rates get weaker over the next 12 months.

But he upgraded shares of Overseas Shipholding to "Overweight" from "Neutral," suggesting the stocks strong financial position will be enough to weather -- and possibly benefit from -- the global financial crisis.

Keep in mind that you can ease into a position, and opportunity abounds as momentum traders push it significantly outside of its practical valuation band, which is clearly delineated in the shipping report that I released a few weeks ago. See