What happened

Following in the wake of fellow dry bulk shipping stocks Diana Shipping (NYSE:DSX) last week and Safe Bulkers (NYSE:SB) Monday morning, Seanergy Maritime Holdings (NASDAQ:SHIP) and Castor Maritime (NASDAQ:CTRM) surged ahead to close the trading session up 12% and 13%.

By now, that shouldn't be surprising.

Worker staring up at the prow of a very large ship in drydock

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Two big catalysts lifted dry bulk stocks higher Monday -- first Safe Bulkers, and then Seanergy and Castor. For one thing, a fortuitously timed reversal in shipping rates is now reflected on the Baltic Exchange Dry Index, which leaped 6.8% late last week, suggesting that the downturn in pricing that had been forming earlier in the month will not stick.  

For another -- and perhaps taking a cue from the first catalyst -- investment bank H.C. Wainwright waded into the dry shipping waters Monday to deliver a series of buy recommendations for nearly every stock in the industry. Diana and Safe Bulkers both got buy ratings, for example, as did Genco Shipping (NYSE:GNK), Eagle Bulk (NASDAQ:EGLE), and Seanergy, too. Castor, though, did not.    

Now what

As Wainwright explained in a note covered by TheFly.com:

"Dry bulk equities [are] up more than 100% in the past year and spot rates [are] at their highest level in over a decade." This is appropriate, however -- and indeed, dry bulk stocks could go even higher -- because "moderating demand" for dry bulk cargo is being offset by "limited fleet growth" of cargo ships to carry it. This keeps demand and supply in balance, preserving profit margins.

Speaking of which, Castor Maritime is currently raking in an astounding 21.5% operating margin on its booming revenues, and Seanergy isn't far behind with an operating profit margin of 19.2%. So long as those margins remain intact, Wainwright could be right about the stocks continuing to surge.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.