4 Sell-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 4 stocks with substantial yields, that ultimately, we have rated "Sell."

Life Partners Holdings

Dividend Yield: 10.20%

Life Partners Holdings (NASDAQ: LPHI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.20%.

Life Partners Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiary, Life Partners, Inc., operates in the secondary market for life insurance in the United States. It facilitates the sale of life settlements between sellers and purchasers, but does not take possession or control of the policies. Currently there are no analysts that rate Life Partners Holdings a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

The average volume for Life Partners Holdings has been 100,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Life Partners Holdings has a market cap of $72.9 million and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are up 48.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Life Partners Holdings 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:
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Diversified Financial Services industry and the overall market, LIFE PARTNERS HOLDINGS INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • LPHI has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 7.79% from its price level of one year ago. 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.
  • LIFE PARTNERS HOLDINGS INC has improved earnings per share by 20.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, LIFE PARTNERS HOLDINGS INC swung to a loss, reporting -$0.17 versus $1.25 in the prior year.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 7.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 35.2%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • LPHI 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 2.60, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.

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American Midstream Partners

Dividend Yield: 9.70%

American Midstream Partners (NYSE: AMID) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.70%.

American Midstream Partners, LP engages in gathering, treating, processing, and transporting natural gas in the Gulf Coast and Southeast regions of the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 99.39. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates American Midstream Partners a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

The average volume for American Midstream Partners has been 28,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. American Midstream Partners has a market cap of $82.7 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 31.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates American Midstream Partners as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally high debt management risk, poor profit margins, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and unimpressive growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.31 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 0.11, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The gross profit margin for AMERICAN MIDSTREAM PRTNRS LP is currently extremely low, coming in at 5.30%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -7.59% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • AMID has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 17.79% 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 change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average. The net income has decreased by 2.6% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from -$4.17 million to -$4.28 million.
  • AMID, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 1.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 2.8%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.

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.

Student Transportation

Dividend Yield: 8.60%

Student Transportation (NASDAQ: STB) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.60%.

Student Transportation Inc. provides school bus transportation and management services to public and private schools in North America. The company has a P/E ratio of 49.15. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates Student Transportation a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

The average volume for Student Transportation has been 89,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Student Transportation has a market cap of $517.0 million and is part of the diversified services industry. Shares are up 4.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Student Transportation as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself, poor profit margins and generally high debt management risk.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • STB has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 8.59% from its price level of one year ago. 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.
  • The gross profit margin for STUDENT TRANSPORTATION INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 27.10%. Regardless of STB's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, STB's net profit margin of 2.49% is significantly lower than the industry average.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.13 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio is weak, STB's quick ratio is somewhat strong at 1.34, demonstrating the ability to handle short-term liquidity needs.
  • In comparison to the other companies in the Road & Rail industry and the overall market, STUDENT TRANSPORTATION INC's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 85.17% to $22.19 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, STUDENT TRANSPORTATION INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 22.66%.

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.

Alteva

Dividend Yield: 11.70%

Alteva (AMEX: ALTV) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.70%.

Alteva provides cloud-based unified communications solutions for small, medium, and enterprise businesses. The company operates in two segments, Unified Communications and Telephone. Currently there are no analysts that rate Alteva a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

The average volume for Alteva has been 11,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Alteva has a market cap of $53.0 million and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are down 14.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Alteva 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:
  • 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, ALTEVA's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • ALTV'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 38.05%, 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. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • ALTEVA has improved earnings per share by 48.4% 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, ALTEVA swung to a loss, reporting -$0.54 versus $0.51 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.01 versus -$0.54).
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.50, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.33 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • The gross profit margin for ALTEVA is rather high; currently it is at 51.40%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year.

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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