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

American Capital Agency

Dividend Yield: 15.30%

American Capital Agency (NASDAQ: AGNC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 15.30%.

American Capital Agency Corp. operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT). The company has a P/E ratio of 7.83.

The average volume for American Capital Agency has been 6,221,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. American Capital Agency has a market cap of $12.9 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 13% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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.
  • 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 3.2% in earnings ($4.26 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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NuStar Energy L.P

Dividend Yield: 8.00%

NuStar Energy L.P (NYSE: NS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.00%.

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.

The average volume for NuStar Energy L.P has been 355,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. NuStar Energy L.P has a market cap of $4.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 24.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates NuStar Energy L.P as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. 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:
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 469.09% to $27.32 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, NUSTAR ENERGY LP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 26.66%.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 1.3%. 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.
  • 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 135.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $30.20 million to -$10.62 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.

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.

Hatteras Financial Corporation

Dividend Yield: 10.10%

Hatteras Financial Corporation (NYSE: HTS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.10%.

Hatteras Financial Corp. operates as an externally-managed mortgage real estate investment trust (REIT) in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.53.

The average volume for Hatteras Financial Corporation has been 723,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Hatteras Financial Corporation has a market cap of $2.7 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 8.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Hatteras Financial Corporation as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and compelling growth in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, disappointing return on equity and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 16.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 45.2%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $126.14 million or 20.79% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, HATTERAS FINANCIAL CORP's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 38.58%.
  • In its most recent trading session, HTS 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. 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 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, HATTERAS FINANCIAL CORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to 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.

Mercury General Corporation

Dividend Yield: 5.90%

Mercury General Corporation (NYSE: MCY) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.90%.

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 19.63.

The average volume for Mercury General Corporation has been 388,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Mercury General Corporation has a market cap of $2.3 billion and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are up 6.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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.

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.

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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