3 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 3 stocks with substantial yields, that ultimately, we have rated "Hold."

Mesa Royalty

Dividend Yield: 8.90%

Mesa Royalty (NYSE: MTR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.90%.

Mesa Royalty Trust holds net overriding royalty interests in various oil and gas producing properties in the United States. It has interests in properties that are located in the Hugoton field of Kansas; the San Juan Basin field of New Mexico and Colorado; and the Yellow Creek field of Wyoming. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.66.

The average volume for Mesa Royalty has been 5,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Mesa Royalty has a market cap of $44.1 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 20.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Mesa Royalty as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • MTR has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 9.27, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The gross profit margin for MESA ROYALTY TRUST is currently very high, coming in at 100.00%. MTR has managed to maintain the strong profit margin since the same quarter of last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, MTR's net profit margin of 93.48% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • MTR, with its very weak revenue results, has greatly underperformed against the industry average of 3.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues plummeted by 64.6%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • MESA ROYALTY TRUST 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 suffered a declining pattern earnings per share over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, MESA ROYALTY TRUST reported lower earnings of $2.96 versus $3.51 in the prior year.
  • 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 66.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $2.05 million to $0.69 million.

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Consolidated Communications

Dividend Yield: 8.80%

Consolidated Communications (NASDAQ: CNSL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.80%.

Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides telecommunications services to residential and business customers in Illinois, Texas, and Pennsylvania. The company has a P/E ratio of 117.87. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate Consolidated Communications a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

The average volume for Consolidated Communications has been 182,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Consolidated Communications has a market cap of $705.0 million and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are up 11.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Consolidated Communications as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, 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 generally higher debt management risk.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • CNSL's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 1.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 70.9%. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $51.32 million or 39.15% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 14.22%.
  • The gross profit margin for CONSOLIDATED COMM HLDGS INC is rather high; currently it is at 61.40%. Regardless of CNSL's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year.
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market, CONSOLIDATED COMM HLDGS INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The share price of CONSOLIDATED COMM HLDGS INC has not done very well: it is down 9.94% 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, 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.

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New Mountain Finance

Dividend Yield: 9.50%

New Mountain Finance (NYSE: NMFC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.50%.

New Mountain Finance Corporation operates as a closed-end, non-diversified management investment company. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate New Mountain Finance a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

The average volume for New Mountain Finance has been 254,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. New Mountain Finance has a market cap of $349.5 million and is part of the conglomerates industry. Shares are down 4% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates New Mountain Finance as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, weak operating cash flow and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 9.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 44.3%. 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 NEW MOUNTAIN FINANCE CORP is rather high; currently it is at 66.00%. Regardless of NMFC's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, NMFC's net profit margin of 68.78% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Capital Markets industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, NEW MOUNTAIN FINANCE CORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed compared to the Capital Markets industry average, but is greater than that of the S&P 500. The net income has decreased by 4.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $17.86 million to $17.00 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$128.89 million or 100.62% 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.

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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