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 "Sell."

Windstream Holdings

Dividend Yield: 12.50%

Windstream Holdings

(NASDAQ:

WIN

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 12.50%.

Windstream Holdings, Inc. provides communications and technology solutions in the United States. It offers managed services and cloud computing services to businesses, as well as broadband, voice, and video services to consumers primarily in rural markets.

The average volume for Windstream Holdings has been 9,647,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Windstream Holdings has a market cap of $4.8 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are down 3.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates

Windstream Holdings

as a

sell

. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • 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 Diversified Telecommunication Services industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 165.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $118.40 million to -$77.50 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 38.72 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.33, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market, WINDSTREAM HOLDINGS INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has declined marginally to $354.70 million or 1.11% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow WINDSTREAM HOLDINGS INC is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -27.33%.
  • The share price of WINDSTREAM HOLDINGS INC has not done very well: it is down 6.09% 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. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.

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ARMOUR Residential REIT

Dividend Yield: 15.00%

ARMOUR Residential REIT

(NYSE:

ARR

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 15.00%.

ARMOUR Residential REIT, Inc. invests in and manages a portfolio of residential mortgage backed securities in the United States. The company is managed by ARMOUR Capital Management LP.

The average volume for ARMOUR Residential REIT has been 3,162,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. ARMOUR Residential REIT has a market cap of $1.1 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 13.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates

ARMOUR Residential REIT

as a

sell

. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its disappointing return on equity and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • 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, ARMOUR RESIDENTIAL REIT INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • ARR has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 24.95% 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 ARMOUR RESIDENTIAL REIT INC is currently very high, coming in at 91.13%. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, ARR's net profit margin of -136.87% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • ARMOUR RESIDENTIAL REIT 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, ARMOUR RESIDENTIAL REIT INC reported poor results of -$0.55 versus -$0.53 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.43 versus -$0.55).
  • 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 73.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$540.78 million to -$143.17 million.

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CVR Refining

Dividend Yield: 7.00%

CVR Refining

(NYSE:

CVRR

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.00%.

CVR Refining, LP operates as an independent petroleum refiner and marketer of transportation fuels in the United States. It owns and operates a complex full coking medium-sour crude oil refinery in Coffeyville, Kansas. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.74.

The average volume for CVR Refining has been 487,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. CVR Refining has a market cap of $3.1 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 24.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates

CVR Refining

as a

sell

. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • CVRR has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 9.36% 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.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. In comparison to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, CVR REFINING LP has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • CVRR, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 19.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 24.9%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • CVR REFINING LP's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. 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, CVR REFINING LP reported lower earnings of $2.44 versus $4.00 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.61 versus $2.44).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average. The net income increased by 1.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from -$110.20 million to -$108.50 million.

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