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More top-performing CAPS members have turned bullish on TBS International (NASDAQ:TBSI) recently. It's been upgraded from the three- and four-star ranks that it has bounced between for months to a tip-top five stars. A total of 1,109 members have given their opinion on TBS International, with many of them offering analysis and commentary explaining the recent optimism.

Like fellow shipper Eagle Bulk Shipping (NASDAQ:EGLE), TBS reported strong revenue growth in the fourth quarter and remained profitable. Meanwhile, other shippers, such as Excel Maritime Carriers (NYSE:EXM), have seen profits evaporate amid a sea of plunging day rates and one-time write-offs.

Yet while TBS management has seen continued deterioration of the industry, CEO Joseph Royce remains "cautiously optimistic" on improvement in the second half of 2009. In the meantime, the company is shadowing Navios Maritime (NYSE:NM) -- by cancelling new ship orders -- and also looks to preserve cash by freezing salaries. Its debt levels are somewhere between those of smooth sailer Diana Shipping (NYSE:DSX) and the scary-high levels of DryShips (NASDAQ:DRYS). Plus, TBS has taken a proactive approach, as has Genco Shipping (NYSE:GNK), in negotiating debt-covenant waivers with lenders. And after making some prepayments to reduce debt, it still sits on around $70 million in cash.

To help in the recovery, TBS is looking for demand from China and India to be key drivers for the industry. With its position of relative strength, the company is expected by many CAPS members to not only survive but also be a strong performer when the global economy improves.

To see what the very best CAPS analysts are saying now about TBS International -- as well as other winning stocks they are picking -- head on over to CAPS and have a look. The community research and resources in CAPS are totally free, unlike analyst opinions reserved for paying clients.

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Fool contributor Dave Mock recently upgraded his sea legs with a little patch that sticks behind his ear. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. The Fool's disclosure policy doesn't know the bow from the stern.