Mad Money

2 Trades on Global Trade

“Worldwide commerce is coming back,” Cramer said during Tuesday’s Mad Money, and “the global recovery is for real.”

That’s what the shipping stocks, key indicators of international trade, seem to be saying. Shippers’ day rates turned up a couple of weeks ago, as China and other countries demanded more coal, iron ore, grain and oil, and now the share prices are pushing higher. Cramer said that both the charts and the fundamentals point to Diana Shipping and Nordic American Tanker as the best way to play the trend.

Off the Charts

The weekly chart of Diana Shipping, a dry-bulk carrier, shows a stock with “the potential to explode,” Cramer said. The daily chart, however, urges a bit more caution. DSX is 21% above its 50-day moving average, according to the daily, meaning it has run too far too fast. That’s why one of Cramer’s favorite technical analysts recommended waiting for Diana to pull back to $15 before buying.

Nordic American Tanker’s chart looks even more bullish. After selling off every time the stock reached its 50-moving average, NAT last week broke out on high volume – a sign of legitimacy for chartists. Now that Cramer fave technical analyst thinks that the 50-day moving average will occupy the lower end of NAT’s range instead of the top. Given that the 50-day is at $29.50 right now, less than $1 below the stock’s current price, the analyst considers this a good time to buy because there’s “little to no downside risk.”

How about he fundamentals? Plunging day rates sank Diana Shipping from $45.92 on Nov. 2, 2007, when Cramer told viewers to sell the stock, to its $17.17 closing price on Tuesday. That’s a 150% loss. But those rates are coming back, rising 30% just last week, and Cramer thinks there’s more to come. That bodes well for DSX, he said, especially given China’s commodity demands.

Another plus for Diana: A strong balance sheet will allow the company to add nine ships to its fleet of 21. That allows Diana to benefit even more from the bump in shipping rates, and could mean a return of its dividend, which was suspended in the fourth quarter of 2008. Investors should take note, Cramer said, because before the suspension Diana often paid nearly all of its distributable cash flow to shareholders.

Nordic American is seeing the same increase in shipping rates, as the fee to use one of the company’s 14 Suezmax tankers also jumped 30% last week. The move in oil prices translates into good business for NAT, but again it’s China that’s the driving force here. A recent decision to ban single-hull ships from Chinese ports – for environmental reasons – is great news for the company: NAT only owns double-hulled tankers, meaning it now has better business opportunities with what Cramer often calls the world’s true economic superpower (rather than the US).

Nordic American cut its dividend last week, but the stock is up since anyway, which Cramer called “a major show of strength.” As rates rise and new ships come on line, he said, the dividend should “roar back.” Cramer also said that NAT’s increased exposure to day rates offers investors more potential upside than Diana, which has locked in rates for a bigger proportion of its fleet. 

The bottom line? The shipping stocks are on fire, and Cramer thinks DSX and NAT are the best stocks to trade the move.

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