2012 is nearing its end, and now's a good opportunity to look at what happened throughout the year to the stocks you follow. If you know the important things that a company achieved, as well as any challenges it failed to overcome, then you can make a better decision about whether it really deserves a spot in your portfolio.

Today, I'll look at Navios Maritime Partners . The shipping industry had another tough year, as shipping rates continued to remain at rock-bottom levels. But Navios Maritime Partners held up better than many of its peers, thanks to its continuing dividend payments and solid book of business. Below, you'll find more on what moved shares of Navios Maritime Partners this year.

Stats on Navios Maritime Partners

Year-to-date stock return

(5.6%)

Market cap

$762 million

Revenue, past 12 months

$203 million

Net income, past 12 months

$74.4 million

1-year revenue growth

13.5%

1-year net income growth

14.4%

Dividend yield

14.1%

CAPS rating (out of 5)

*****


Source: S&P Capital IQ.

Why hasn't Navios Maritime Partners recovered this year?
Navios Maritime Partners had gotten stuck in a lousy environment for shipping companies, with falling rates making it extremely difficult for shippers to make money. In fact, Navios Maritime Partners and the related Navios Maritime Holdings have both been unusual in that they've found ways to keep making profits during the downturn. By contrast, DryShips has been losing money from shipping for a long time, relying instead on its deepwater drilling segment to shore up its financials. Looking beyond the dry-bulk shipping niche, tanker company Frontline actually had to cut its sizable dividend entirely in order to conserve cash.

During the early autumn months, the Baltic Dry Index rebounded somewhat from its lows. But that brought only temporary respite for the industry, and the index has sunk in December back down toward its yearly lows.

Navios Maritime Partners pays distributions that result in an even higher yield than many of the other dividend-rich shippers in the business. Part of that comes from its favorable contracts in Asia with companies whose shipping demand has held up somewhat better than those with whom Navios' peers are doing business.

Navios' performance in 2012 points to the fact that even high-yielding stocks don't always give investors overall gains. Once the shipping industry rebounds, however, Navios Maritime Partners should be in good shape to take full advantage.

Do better
Navios Maritime Partners has an enviable dividend, but we think you can find better investments. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer recently selected his No. 1 stock for the next year, and you can find out all about it in our brand-new free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013." Please don't miss out on this once-a-year opportunity; click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

Click here to add Navios Maritime Partners to My Watchlist, which can find all of our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.

The article How Navios Maritime Partners Stayed Afloat in 2012 originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. 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.

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