A double-digit dividend yield seems like an incredible deal for any investor. But then there's always an inside story. We raise the red flag on five stocks that promise the world but need severe reassessment.
They stand out among an entire group of stocks right now that are on the brink of steep declines. Below is the ugly truth behind the seemingly attractive yields.
1. Seadrill Partners LLC (SDLP)
At about $10 a share, Seadrill Partners is engaged in owning, operating and acquiring offshore drilling units. Its drilling rigs are under long-term contracts with a variety of oil companies such as Chevron, Total, BP and Exxon Mobil.
With a dividend yield of 22.15%, the stock gives you an impression of great value. A 41% price drop in 2014 and 21% dip in value in 2015 (year to date) has meant the stock gives an artificial impression of higher dividends.
The truth is it hasn't hiked dividends sharply -- the price drop makes the yield look nice. Despite a bear market in crude oil, Seadrill's cash flow is predictable and earnings are expected to drop 12% this year.
At less than $6 a share, Foresight Energy is a low-cost producer of thermal coal with its expertise spread across operating and developing productive underground mines in the Illinois Basin.
With a 24.75% dividend yield, it looks like a superb buy. However, a massive 58% drop in share price this year reveals the true picture behind the yield story. The company has cut its dividend payouts (in its most recent quarter) by 50%.
At 57 times forward earnings, it's an expensive deal, given that its earnings-per-share (EPS) will drop by over 60% this year as well as the next, even as revenues continue to slip. Dividend payments could be further reduced as free cash flow to net income ratios are, at best, poor.
3. CVR Refining LP (CVRR)
CVR Refining is an independent downstream energy limited partnership with refining and related logistics assets operating in the mid-continent region. Its business includes a complex full coking medium-sour crude oil refinery in Coffeyville, Kan.
At $21 a share, it's trading at less than 9 times forward earnings. Its dividend yield of 15% makes it look like an attractive proposition. Usually, a higher dividend is accompanied by good performance. While this year EPS growth is at 23%, most analysts suggest that EPS will decline by 16.4% over 2016.
With EPS growth per annum for the next five years expected to be almost flat, there is no great reason to buy this stock barring the dividend-yields. With a dull earnings momentum, a weak operating environment and several "Hold" recommendations, CVR needs a fresh trigger to revitalize itself.
Chimera Investment is a specialty finance company that invests in residential mortgage backed securities and various other asset classes. Its dividend yield of 13.6% is only half the story.
The stock on a total return basis has lost 3.5% in 2015; its recent third-quarter earnings were solid with its strong core playing out well.
What's worrying is the deterioration in performance metrics -- third-quarter GAAP book value was down 2% year-on-year. And 2016's EPS growth is slated to be a measly 0.50%. This is a dismal scenario compared to the industry's 17% ascent.
This stock shares a similar fate with several stocks that look vulnerable right now in this choppy market.
MFA Financial is engaged in the real estate finance business. It invests, on a leveraged basis, in residential Agency and Non-Agency mortgage-backed securities. Its share price is now less than $7 but it sports a dividend yield of nearly 12%.
Year to date total losses have been about 9% -- after a good 21% uptick on EPS growth this year, 2016 will see an EPS fall by nearly 4%. A lowly 2% EPS per annum growth for the next five years suggests that on a price-to-earnings-growth ratio (PEG) it trades at a rich 5 times.
In the third quarter, MFA Financial saw a loss in book value per share that led to a slightly negative total economic return for the quarter. In the second and third quarters, MFA's stock price slipped under the concern that its credit sensitive assets could be affected as a result of global economic issues. A difficult proposition by far, and best avoided.
And you should avoid these dangerous stocks as well. If you own any of them, sell them now.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.