What happened

Shares of crude oil shipper Gener8 Maritime (NYSE:GNRT) are up 6% as of 10:50 a.m. EDT following the company's latest earnings release.

So what

Gener8 reported its Q4 and full-year earnings this morning, showing $0.07 in GAAP profits on quarterly sales of $99.6 million. (Pro forma profits were stated at $0.24 per share, and by this standard, the company appears to have beaten analyst predictions of $0.17 per share in pro forma profit.)

For the full year, Gener8 earned real, GAAP profits of $0.81 per share on sales of $392.1 million.

Oil tanker.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Investors are reacting positively to the earnings beat, but they may also be overreacting. While Gener8 does appear to have trumped analyst expectations, the fact remains that when compared to its year-ago results, this morning's numbers are pretty underwhelming. Year over year, earnings declined 87% in Q4, despite revenue declining barely 1%. Profits were down 60% for the full year.

Granted, at a stock price of merely 6.4 times earnings, one could argue that Gener8 stock need not grow very fast to justify its low price tag. But at least some growth would be nice, and right now, Gener8 is not growing at all. Also, Gener8's 6.4 price-to-earnings ratio doesn't take into account the company's $1.5 billion in net debt.

Factor that into the equation, and Gener8's debt-adjusted P/E is almost 28.5 -- which isn't cheap at all.

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.