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."

Entergy

Dividend Yield: 5.30%

Entergy (NYSE: ETR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.30%.

Entergy Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the electric power production and retail electric distribution operations in the United States. The company generates electricity through various sources, such as gas/oil, nuclear, coal, and hydro power. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.10. Currently there are 2 analysts that rate Entergy a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

The average volume for Entergy has been 1,105,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Entergy has a market cap of $11.1 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 3.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Entergy as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, attractive valuation levels and growth in earnings per share. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk, weak operating cash flow 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 Electric Utilities industry. The net income increased by 88.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $160.03 million to $301.85 million.
  • ENTERGY 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, ENTERGY CORP reported lower earnings of $4.75 versus $7.54 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.83 versus $4.75).
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.42 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 0.31, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $720.50 million or 27.88% 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.

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American Capital Agency

Dividend Yield: 15.50%

American Capital Agency (NASDAQ: AGNC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 15.50%.

American Capital Agency Corp. operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT). The company has a P/E ratio of 7.76. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate American Capital Agency a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

The average volume for American Capital Agency has been 5,889,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. American Capital Agency has a market cap of $12.8 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 10.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates American Capital Agency as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • AGNC's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 16.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 98.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, reflecting both the market's overall trend during that period and the fact that the company's earnings growth has been robust. 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.
  • AMERICAN CAPITAL AGENCY 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. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, AMERICAN CAPITAL AGENCY CORP reported lower earnings of $4.40 versus $5.22 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 2.0% in earnings ($4.31 versus $4.40).
  • 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 on the basis of return on equity, AMERICAN CAPITAL AGENCY CORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.

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Mercury General Corporation

Dividend Yield: 6.50%

Mercury General Corporation (NYSE: MCY) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.50%.

Mercury General Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in writing personal automobile insurance. The company also writes homeowners, commercial automobile and property, mechanical breakdown, fire, and umbrella insurance. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.56. Currently there are no analysts that rate Mercury General Corporation a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

The average volume for Mercury General Corporation has been 441,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Mercury General Corporation has a market cap of $2.1 billion and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are down 4.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Mercury General Corporation 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, reasonable valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, 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:
  • MCY's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.08 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels.
  • MCY, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 17.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 9.1%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • 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 Insurance industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 121.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $79.47 million to -$17.38 million.
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Insurance industry and the overall market, MERCURY GENERAL CORP's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

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Other helpful dividend tools from TheStreet:

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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