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EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Jim Cramer's Protégé, Dave Peltier, only buys Stock Under $10 that he thinks could potentially double or triple in the next 6 to 12-months. See what he's trading today with a 14-day FREE pass.

Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks In The Top 4: MFA, NS, HCN, FE

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

TheStreet Ratings' stock model projects a stock's total return potential over a 12-month period including both price appreciation and dividends. Our Buy, Hold or Sell ratings designate how we expect these stocks to perform against a general benchmark of the equities market and interest rates.

While plenty of high-yield opportunities exist, investors must always consider the safety of their dividend and the total return potential of their investment. It is not uncommon for a struggling company to suspend high-yielding dividends and subsequently result in precipitous share price declines.

TheStreet Ratings' stock rating model views dividends favorably, but not so much that other factors are disregarded. Our model gauges the relationship between risk and reward in several ways, including: the pricing drawdown as compared to potential profit volatility, i.e. how much one is willing to risk in order to earn profits?; the level of acceptable volatility for highly performing stocks; the current valuation as compared to projected earnings growth; and the financial strength of the underlying company as compared to its stock's valuation as compared to its stock's performance.

These and many more derived observations are then combined, ranked, weighted, and scenario-tested to create a more complete analysis. The result is a systematic and disciplined method of selecting stocks. As always, stock ratings should not be treated as gospel — rather, use them as a starting point for your own research.

The following pages contain our analysis of 4 stocks with substantial yields, that ultimately, we have rated "Hold."

MFA Financial

Dividend Yield: 11.90%

MFA Financial (NYSE: MFA) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.90%.

MFA Financial, Inc., a real estate investment trust (REIT), invests in residential agency and non-agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS). The company has a P/E ratio of 9.33.

The average volume for MFA Financial has been 3,373,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. MFA Financial has a market cap of $2.7 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 9.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates MFA Financial as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins and increase in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The gross profit margin for MFA FINANCIAL INC is currently very high, coming in at 91.33%. Regardless of MFA's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, MFA's net profit margin of 60.36% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • MFA, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 10.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 0.2%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, MFA FINANCIAL INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $70.08 million or 13.26% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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