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."

Royal Dutch Shell

Dividend Yield: 7.60%

Royal Dutch Shell

(NYSE:

RDS.B

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.60%.

Royal Dutch Shell plc operates as an independent oil and gas company worldwide. It operates through Upstream and Downstream segments. The company explores for and extracts crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.23.

The average volume for Royal Dutch Shell has been 3,484,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Royal Dutch Shell has a market cap of $157.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 5.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

TheStreet Ratings rates

Royal Dutch Shell

as a

hold

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

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income increased by 57.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $595.00 million to $939.00 million.
  • ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC 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, ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC reported lower earnings of $0.60 versus $4.70 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.91 versus $0.60).
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $5,423.00 million or 43.55% when compared to the same quarter last year. In conjunction, when comparing current results to the industry average, ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC has marginally lower results.
  • RDS.B has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 21.55% 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.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

Hancock

Dividend Yield: 4.20%

Hancock

(NASDAQ:

HBHC

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.20%.

Hancock Holding Company operates as the bank holding company for Whitney Bank that provides a range of community banking services to commercial, small business, and retail customers. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.00.

The average volume for Hancock has been 921,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Hancock has a market cap of $1.8 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are down 9.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

TheStreet Ratings rates

Hancock

as a

hold

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, feeble growth in the company's earnings per share and deteriorating net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • HBHC's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 5.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.6%. 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 gross profit margin for HANCOCK HOLDING CO is currently very high, coming in at 71.74%. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 6.54% trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $9.56 million or 85.25% 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.
  • HANCOCK HOLDING CO has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. Earnings per share have declined over the last two years. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, HANCOCK HOLDING CO reported lower earnings of $1.64 versus $2.10 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 3.4% in earnings ($1.59 versus $1.64).
  • 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 Commercial Banks industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 61.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $40.09 million to $15.31 million.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

Apollo Global Management

Dividend Yield: 6.50%

Apollo Global Management

(NYSE:

APO

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.50%.

Apollo Global Management, LLC is a publicly owned investment manager. It primarily provides its services to endowment and sovereign wealth funds, as well as other institutional and individual investors. The firm manages client focused portfolios. The company has a P/E ratio of 28.07.

The average volume for Apollo Global Management has been 1,342,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Apollo Global Management has a market cap of $6.8 billion and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 14.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

TheStreet Ratings rates

Apollo Global Management

as a

hold

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, deteriorating net income and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Capital Markets industry and the overall market, APOLLO GLOBAL MANAGEMENT LLC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 119.94% to $16.91 million when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, APOLLO GLOBAL MANAGEMENT LLC's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 143.97%.
  • 36.08% is the gross profit margin for APOLLO GLOBAL MANAGEMENT LLC which we consider to be strong. Regardless of APO's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 3.14% trails the industry average.
  • 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 Capital Markets industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 72.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $22.18 million to $6.09 million.
  • The share price of APOLLO GLOBAL MANAGEMENT LLC has not done very well: it is down 20.75% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. Looking ahead, we do not see anything in this company's numbers that would change the one-year trend. It was down over the last twelve months; and it could be down again in the next twelve. Naturally, a bull or bear market could sway the movement of this stock.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

Other helpful dividend tools from TheStreet: