5 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

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 and 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 5 stocks with substantial yields, that ultimately, we have rated "Hold."

CenturyLink

Dividend Yield: 6.30%

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.30%.

CenturyLink, Inc. operates as an integrated telecommunications company in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.50. Currently there are 8 analysts that rate CenturyLink a buy, 3 analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

The average volume for CenturyLink has been 7,552,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. CenturyLink has a market cap of $21.4 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are down 12.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates CenturyLink as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, reasonable valuation levels and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

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 Diversified Telecommunication Services industry. The net income increased by 117.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $107.00 million to $233.00 million.
  • CENTURYLINK 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, CENTURYLINK INC reported lower earnings of $1.24 versus $1.29 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.67 versus $1.24).
  • CTL has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 11.36% 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.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.07 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.47, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.

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Windstream

Dividend Yield: 11.40%

Windstream (NASDAQ: WIN) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.40%.

Windstream Corporation provides communications and technology solutions in the United States. The company offers managed services and cloud computing services to businesses, as well as broadband, voice, and video services to consumers primarily in rural markets. The company has a P/E ratio of 31.29. Currently there are 5 analysts that rate Windstream a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

The average volume for Windstream has been 8,182,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Windstream has a market cap of $5.2 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are up 5.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Windstream as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, notable return on equity and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 1.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 27.6%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • 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 Diversified Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market, WINDSTREAM CORP's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • WINDSTREAM CORP 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, WINDSTREAM CORP reported lower earnings of $0.28 versus $0.33 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.45 versus $0.28).
  • WIN's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 26.17%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last 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.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 8.14 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 0.36, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.

New From TheStreet: Jim Cramer's Protégé, Dave Peltier, only buys dividend stocks that have the potential for a 3% to 4% yield and 10% growth. Get his best picks for less than $50/year.

NuStar Energy L.P

Dividend Yield: 8.60%

NuStar Energy L.P (NYSE: NS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.60%.

NuStar Energy L.P. engages in the terminalling, storage, and transportation of petroleum products primarily in the United States and the Netherlands. The company operates in three segments: Storage, Transportation, and Asphalt and Fuels Marketing. Currently there are no analysts that rate NuStar Energy L.P a buy, 3 analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

The average volume for NuStar Energy L.P has been 436,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. NuStar Energy L.P has a market cap of $4.0 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 20.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates NuStar Energy L.P as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have evaluated. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 3.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 48.9%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • NS's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.93 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further.
  • NUSTAR ENERGY LP has exprienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, NUSTAR ENERGY LP swung to a loss, reporting -$3.37 versus $2.79 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.03 versus -$3.37).
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 136.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $30.20 million to -$11.02 million.
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, NUSTAR ENERGY LP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

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Royal Bank Of Canada

Dividend Yield: 4.10%

Royal Bank Of Canada (NYSE: RY) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.10%.

Royal Bank of Canada provides personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor and treasury, and capital markets services worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.67. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate Royal Bank Of Canada a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

The average volume for Royal Bank Of Canada has been 489,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Royal Bank Of Canada has a market cap of $86.4 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are down 1.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Royal Bank Of Canada as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that we feel that the company's cash flow from its operations has been weak overall.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • RY's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • 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 Commercial Banks industry and the overall market, ROYAL BANK OF CANADA's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Commercial Banks industry average. The net income increased by 11.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $1,830.00 million to $2,045.00 million.
  • In its most recent trading session, RY has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. Despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year, there is currently no conclusive evidence that warrants the purchase or sale of this stock.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$3,397.00 million or 376.62% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.

New From TheStreet: Jim Cramer's Protégé, Dave Peltier, only buys dividend stocks that have the potential for a 3% to 4% yield and 10% growth. Get his best picks for less than $50/year.

Kinder Morgan

Dividend Yield: 4.10%

Kinder Morgan (NYSE: KMI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.10%.

Kinder Morgan, Inc. owns and operates energy transportation and storage assets in the United States and Canada. The company operates in six segments: Natural Gas Pipelines, Products Pipelines KMP, CO2 KMP, Terminals KMP, Kinder Morgan Canada KMP, and Other. The company has a P/E ratio of 64.71. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate Kinder Morgan a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

The average volume for Kinder Morgan has been 4,675,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Kinder Morgan has a market cap of $37.5 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 3.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Kinder Morgan as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, increase in net income and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk, disappointing return on equity and relatively poor performance when compared with the S&P 500 during the past year.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • KMI's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 3.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 59.0%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income increased by 41.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $155.00 million to $220.00 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $868.00 million or 11.65% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, KINDER MORGAN INC's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 28.97%.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 2.48 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 0.41, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • 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. In comparison to the other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, KINDER MORGAN INC's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.

New From TheStreet: Jim Cramer's Protégé, Dave Peltier, only buys dividend stocks that have the potential for a 3% to 4% yield and 10% growth. Get his best picks for less than $50/year.

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Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.
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