What happened

Shares of dry bulk shipper Golden Ocean Group (NASDAQ:GOGL) are looking a lot more lustrous in investors' eyes today after the company reported third-quarter earnings on Tuesday after the market closed. Besides the company's success in handily beating analysts estimates on both the top and bottom lines, the announcement of a dividend hike provided a motivation for investors. 

As of 11:16 a.m. ET today, shares of Golden Ocean Group are up 9.9%, having retreated slightly from a rise of 11%.

A cargo ship at sea.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

With revenue of $306 million, Golden Ocean sailed past analysts' estimate of $275 million. The bottom line also provided a pleasant surprise as the company reported earnings per share (EPS) of $0.97, notably higher than the $0.70 that analysts were anticipating. And management seems optimistic that the company will continue to enjoy some smooth sailing in the near term.

In the company's press release accompanying the earnings report, CEO Ulrik Andersen said: "We have already contracted more than 30% of our open days for Q1 2022, mitigating risk and ensuring cash generation into next year. The combination of expected global demand growth, modest fleet growth and inefficiencies we believe will persist in the coming years creates a powerful dynamic for Golden Ocean."

Meanwhile, the company's decision to raise the third-quarter dividend 70% to $0.85 per share from $0.50 motivated dividend-minded investors to pick up shares. The dividend raise represents the third consecutive quarter in which the company is returning cash to shareholders, an encouraging sign considering the company suspended its dividend after the fourth quarter of 2019.

Now what

Considering the company's strong sales and earnings beat as well as the dividend raise, it's little surprise that the stock is rising today. While the dividend yield now offers a mouth-watering 9.4%, investors will want to dig deeper to ensure the company is in sound financial shape before hopping aboard with an investment.

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.