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: 5.80%

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.80%.

CenturyLink, Inc. operates as an integrated telecommunications company in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 24.41.

The average volume for CenturyLink has been 7,914,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. CenturyLink has a market cap of $22.8 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are down 4.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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 a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and generally higher debt management risk.

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 ($2.66 versus $1.24).
  • Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.07, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 0.47 is very low and demonstrates very weak liquidity.
  • In its most recent trading session, CTL 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.

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Bank of Montreal

Dividend Yield: 4.70%

Bank of Montreal (NYSE: BMO) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.70%.

Bank of Montreal, together with its subsidiaries, provides various retail banking, wealth management, and investment banking products and services in North America and internationally. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.18.

The average volume for Bank of Montreal has been 440,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Bank of Montreal has a market cap of $40.3 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are up 1.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Bank of Montreal as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its notable return on equity, increase in stock price during the past year and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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, BANK OF MONTREAL's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. 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.
  • The gross profit margin for BANK OF MONTREAL is currently very high, coming in at 83.90%. Regardless of BMO's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, BMO's net profit margin of 19.64% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and greatly underperformed compared to the Commercial Banks industry average. The net income has decreased by 5.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $1,090.00 million to $1,030.00 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $10,656.00 million or 55.67% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.

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EV Energy Partner

Dividend Yield: 6.40%

EV Energy Partner (NASDAQ: EVEP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.40%.

EV Energy Partners, L.P. engages in the acquisition, development, and production of oil and natural gas properties in the United States.

The average volume for EV Energy Partner has been 343,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. EV Energy Partner has a market cap of $2.1 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 14.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates EV Energy Partner as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, 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:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 1.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 12.9%. 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 slightly increased to $34.48 million or 3.82% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, EV ENERGY PARTNERS LP's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 20.63%.
  • 39.90% is the gross profit margin for EV ENERGY PARTNERS LP which we consider to be strong. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, EVEP's net profit margin of -13.08% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • 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 202.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $9.66 million to -$9.88 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, EV ENERGY PARTNERS 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.

Pengrowth Energy

Dividend Yield: 9.70%

Pengrowth Energy (NYSE: PGH) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.70%.

Pengrowth Energy Corporation engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas reserves in Canada. The company has a P/E ratio of 161.00.

The average volume for Pengrowth Energy has been 2,536,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Pengrowth Energy has a market cap of $2.5 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 0.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Pengrowth Energy as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income and expanding profit margins. 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 generally higher debt management risk.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • PGH's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 1.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 68.9%. 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 151.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$8.97 million to $4.64 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $207.68 million or 1.53% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, PENGROWTH ENERGY CORP's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 20.63%.
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, PENGROWTH ENERGY CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • PGH'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 42.57%, 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. Although its share price is down sharply from a year ago, do not assume that it can now be tagged as cheap and attractive. The reality is that, based on its current price in relation to its earnings, PGH is still more expensive than most of the other companies in its industry.

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BreitBurn Energy Partners

Dividend Yield: 9.20%

BreitBurn Energy Partners (NASDAQ: BBEP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.20%.

BreitBurn Energy Partners L.P. engages in the acquisition, exploitation, and development of oil and gas properties in the United States.

The average volume for BreitBurn Energy Partners has been 844,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. BreitBurn Energy Partners has a market cap of $2.0 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 11.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates BreitBurn Energy Partners as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity and generally higher debt management risk.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • BBEP's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 1.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 60.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost 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 66.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$30.39 million to -$10.33 million.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. 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.
  • BBEP's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.69 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. Despite the fact that BBEP's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 0.64 is low and demonstrates weak liquidity.
  • 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, BREITBURN ENERGY PARTNERS 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.

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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