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Light at the end of the tunnel for tanker companies

After the 2003-08 bull run – in which tanker rates spiked to record levels in late-2004 and mid-2008 – last year's downturn pushed shares in tanker groups to a seven-year low. Yet there are signs of recovery: shares in Norwegian tanker company Frontline are trading at around $30. That is still well short of the peak in June 2008, when the shares were closer to $70, but a much healthier level than the $16 trough in March 2009, the lowest point since 2003. Dahlman Rose, a US investment bank, is optimistic about the tanker sector's prospects this year, identifying Frontline, Overseas Shipholding Group (OSG) and Nordic American Tanker Shippings as being among the group of companies likely to pe

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