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The stock market wasn't able to make a big dent in its losses earlier in the week, with investors looking to next week's meeting of the Federal Reserve to see if the long-awaited tapering of quantitative easing could finally begin this month. Yet, even with largely flat results from major market benchmarks today, Diana Shipping (NYSE:DSX), Texas Industries (UNKNOWN:TXI.DL), and Atlantic Power (NYSE:AT) all posted double-digit percentage gains today, with favorable news moving their shares higher.
Diana Shipping gained more than 10% as the dry-bulk sector got upgraded by Morgan Stanley. Diana represents one of the purest dry-bulk plays in the business, with rival DryShips (NASDAQ:DRYS) having substantial exposure to tanker shipping and the offshore drilling business. All year, Diana has performed well on hopes that the long slump for the shipping industry would finally come to an end, with the Baltic Dry Index bouncing off its lows. The industry has a long way to go, however, before it would have any chance of comparing to the heady days of the mid-2000s, when rates were so high that they spurred the massive shipbuilding that caused the current glut of vessels.
Texas Industries rose almost 14%. Published reports speculated that the construction-materials company is looking to put itself up for sale, with some noting that rival Vulcan Materials (NYSE:VMC) might be a potential buyer. Even though the construction industry has finally shown some signs of life lately, Texas Industries stock hasn't performed well, and the two institutional investors that together own more than half of the company have tried to sell out for a while now. If the industry does recover, shareholders might end up wishing they hadn't had their shares taken away from them if a buyout actually happens.
Atlantic Power jumped 12% after the company announced that it had kept its monthly dividend unchanged. Although its payment of $0.03333 per share in Canadian dollars represents about a 12% yield, it's only a third of what the utility paid until March. Still, some believe that reducing the dividend actually helped Atlantic Power as it conserved cash to help repay debt and facilitate its overall restructuring and balance-sheet improvement. Nevertheless, shareholders celebrated the fact that Atlantic Power didn't see the need to reduce its payout again.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.