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 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."

Mid-America Apartment Communities

Dividend Yield: 4.20%

Mid-America Apartment Communities

(NYSE:

MAA

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.20%.

Mid-America Apartment Communities, Inc. is an independent real estate investment trust. The firm invests in the real estate markets of the United States. It is engaged in acquisition, redevelopment, new development, property management, and disposition of multifamily apartment communities.

The average volume for Mid-America Apartment Communities has been 401,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Mid-America Apartment Communities has a market cap of $5.3 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 15.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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

TheStreet Ratings rates

Mid-America Apartment Communities

as a

hold

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels and increase in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • MAA's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 9.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 86.0%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • MID-AMERICA APT CMNTYS INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, MID-AMERICA APT CMNTYS INC reported lower earnings of $0.99 versus $1.42 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.70 versus $0.99).
  • The gross profit margin for MID-AMERICA APT CMNTYS INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 26.66%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the weak results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 26.57% is above that of the industry average.
  • 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. Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, MID-AMERICA APT CMNTYS INC underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.

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

Northern Tier Energy LP Class A

Dividend Yield: 8.50%

Northern Tier Energy LP Class A

(NYSE:

NTI

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.50%.

Northern Tier Energy LP, an independent downstream energy company, is engaged in refining, retail, and pipeline operations in the United States. It operates through two segments, Refining and Retail. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.05.

The average volume for Northern Tier Energy LP Class A has been 428,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Northern Tier Energy LP Class A has a market cap of $2.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 2.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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

TheStreet Ratings rates

TheStreet Recommends

Northern Tier Energy LP Class A

as a

hold

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, attractive 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 deteriorating net income, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 2.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 41.4%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.66, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.85 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • The gross profit margin for NORTHERN TIER ENERGY LP is currently extremely low, coming in at 6.95%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 3.86% trails that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $62.80 million or 23.97% 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.

American Realty Capital Properties

Dividend Yield: 10.00%

American Realty Capital Properties

(NASDAQ:

ARCP

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.00%.

American Realty Capital Properties, Inc. owns and acquires single tenant, freestanding commercial real estate that is net leased on a medium-term basis, primarily to investment grade credit rated and other creditworthy tenants. The company principally invests in retail and office properties.

The average volume for American Realty Capital Properties has been 14,081,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. American Realty Capital Properties has a market cap of $9.1 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 26.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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

TheStreet Ratings rates

American Realty Capital Properties

as a

hold

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

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • ARCP's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 12.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 595.2%. 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 44.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$71.96 million to -$40.33 million.
  • AMERICAN RLTY CAP PPTY INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, AMERICAN RLTY CAP PPTY INC reported poor results of -$2.34 versus -$0.47 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.59 versus -$2.34).
  • ARCP has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 5.89% from its price level of one year ago. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.
  • The gross profit margin for AMERICAN RLTY CAP PPTY INC is currently extremely low, coming in at 6.89%. Despite the low profit margin, it has increased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, ARCP's net profit margin of -10.55% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.

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

Other helpful dividend tools from TheStreet:

null