Why Navios Maritime Holdings Stock Gained 39% in January

By Rich Smith Markets Fool.com

What happened

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Shares of dry bulk ocean shipping and logistics specialist Navios Maritime (NYSE: NM) surged in the first month of the new year -- albeit it grew off a small base. Rising from $1.41 to $1.96, Navios gained 39% in January. February is off to a slower start, albeit a positive one, with the stock up 1.5% so far.

So what

It's hard to say why Navios Maritime stock has had such a good time of it. For example, the Baltic Dry Index (BDI, which tracks the rates shippers can charge for carrying their cargo) entered 2016 at 953 points. indicating somewhat below-average rates that dry bulk carriers can charge for shipping goods.The BDI has proceeded to sink 21% since, falling to a recent low of 752.

Meanwhile, Navios itself saw revenue decline 14% in its most recent quarterly report (released in November). The company reported a $0.30-per-share loss for that quarter, which was 20% worse than Navios incurred in Q3 of 2015.

What is holding this stock up? Image source: Getty Images.

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Now what

Navios is expected to report its Q4 numbers just two weeks from now, on Feb. 21. Analysts are "optimistic" that the rise in the BDI late last year will help Navios' results to show a $0.23-per-share loss on $112.6 million in revenue. (If that doesn't sound very optimistic, remember that one year ago, Navios reported a $0.61-per-share loss on $111.8 million in revenue in Q4 of 2015 -- so even a big loss last quarter could still be an improvement.)

Nonetheless, the sad fact is that the BDI has turned back down since enjoying its "Trump bump" last year. No matter what Navios says two weeks from now, and no matter how good the good news was in Q4, guidance from Navios is likely to be poor.

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Rich Smith has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.