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

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 which could 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 3 stocks with substantial yields, that ultimately, we have rated "Hold."

ConocoPhillips

Dividend Yield: 5.60%

ConocoPhillips

(NYSE:

COP

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.60%.

ConocoPhillips explores for, produces, transports, and markets crude oil, bitumen, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and natural gas liquids worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.90.

The average volume for ConocoPhillips has been 6,506,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. ConocoPhillips has a market cap of $65.2 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 24.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates

ConocoPhillips

as a

hold

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.46, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.84 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • COP, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 38.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 49.9%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for CONOCOPHILLIPS is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 33.14%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 3.52% trails that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $1,870.00 million or 70.48% 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.

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Excel

Dividend Yield: 4.50%

Excel

(NYSE:

EXL

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.50%.

Excel Trust, Inc. engages in financing, developing, leasing, owning and managing community and power centers, grocery anchored neighborhood centers and freestanding retail properties. The company was founded in 2009 and is based in San Diego, California. The company has a P/E ratio of 72.00.

The average volume for Excel has been 727,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Excel has a market cap of $1.0 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 18.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates

Excel

as a

hold

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, compelling growth in net income and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's profit margins have been poor overall.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 8.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 32.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income increased by 811.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $2.20 million to $20.01 million.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. We feel that the combination of its price rise over the last year and its current price-to-earnings ratio relative to its industry tend to reduce its upside potential.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, EXCEL TRUST INC underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for EXCEL TRUST INC is rather low; currently it is at 20.36%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the weak results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 49.20% has significantly outperformed against the industry average.

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Parkway Properties

Dividend Yield: 4.20%

Parkway Properties

(NYSE:

PKY

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.20%.

Parkway Properties, Inc., a real estate investment trust (REIT), engages in the operation, acquisition, ownership, management, and leasing of office properties. It operates and invests principally in office properties in the southeastern and southwestern United States and Chicago. The company has a P/E ratio of 45.95.

The average volume for Parkway Properties has been 849,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Parkway Properties has a market cap of $2.0 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 3.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates

Parkway Properties

as a

hold

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and impressive record of earnings per share growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, unimpressive growth in net income and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • PKY's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 8.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 15.4%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has remained constant at $9.26 million with no significant change when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, PARKWAY PROPERTIES INC has modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -1.20%.
  • PARKWAY PROPERTIES INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, PARKWAY PROPERTIES INC turned its bottom line around by earning $0.29 versus -$0.60 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 124.1% in earnings (-$0.07 versus $0.29).
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 32.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $10.85 million to $7.28 million.
  • PKY has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 17.15% from its price level of one year ago. Looking ahead, other than the push or pull of the broad market, we do not see anything in the company's numbers that may help reverse the decline experienced over the past 12 months. Despite the past decline, the stock is still selling for more than most others in its industry.

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