Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Banc of America Dowgrades Overseas (OSG)

Oil Tanker Stocks Fall on Analyst Downgrade and Expected Rate Slump
Wednesday July 25, 12:08 pm

Stocks of companies that own and operate crude oil tankers mostly fell Wednesday, after a Banc of America Securities analyst downgraded Overseas Shipholding Group Inc. and said the third quarter may be challenging for the sector.

Analyst Daniel L. Barcelo downgraded Overseas Shipholding to "Neutral" from "Buy" as the stock approached his fair value estimate. He maintained the stock as his top pick in the sector, but said he no longer sees any near-term catalysts to drive up the stock.

Across the sector, Barcelo said the tanker companies should post "solid" second-quarter earnings, although they may struggle in the near-term as tanker charter rates slip.

"Looking ahead, the third quarter may prove difficult as rates have collapsed between 25 to 50 percent since peaking in early May due to relatively high inventory levels, limited OPEC production and refinery turnarounds," the analyst said. "Thus we expect third-quarter rates will drop about 25 percent from second-quarter levels, on average, for all three major types of crude vessels."

The analyst expects tanker rates to even out throughout the rest of the year, and then to turn around in 2008 and 2009.

In midday trading, shares of Overseas Shipholding fell 32 cents to $84.

Frontline Ltd. fell 63 cents to $47.71, while Teekay Corp. rose 7 cents to $55.89.

Ship Finance International Ltd. fell 58 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $29.25. The stock has traded between $18.41 and $31.78 in the last 12 months.

General Maritime Corp. fell 3 cents to $27.45, and Aries Maritime Transport Ltd. rose 4 cents to $9.97.

Knightsbridge Tankers Ltd. rose 40 cents to $29.32.

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