Thursday, July 21, 2016

Kirby Trying To Move Through Treacherous Waters

I'm a little surprised that Kirby (NYSE:KEX) has held up as well as it has since my last update on the company. Down about 1% (though down as much as 30% at the depths of the January "we're all doomed!" market panic), Kirby has climbed back from the depths despite more of the guidance reductions and market deteriorations that kept me on the sidelines back in December of 2015.

I think it is still possible to argue for a fair value in the $70s, but investors are going to have to be patient and the market doesn't always (or even often) work that way. Significant capacity increases in U.S. chemical production capacity, concentrated along the Gulf Coast, should support higher demand for barging, as should demand for refined products. Crude oil, though, is not likely to be the positive influence it has been in the past, and that could complicate and delay the recovery. What's more, while it is always tempting to call a bottom, it can take a while for a business like Kirby's to move off of that bottom in a big way.

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Kirby Trying To Move Through Treacherous Waters

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