3 Sell-Rated Dividend Stocks: LPHI, MITT, OIBR

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 "Sell."

Life Partners Holdings

Dividend Yield: 11.80%

Life Partners Holdings (NASDAQ: LPHI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.80%.

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.

The average volume for Life Partners Holdings has been 94,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Life Partners Holdings has a market cap of $63.0 million and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are up 28.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Life Partners Holdings as a sell. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been an overall disappointing return on equity.

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.
  • 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 4.1%. 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.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Diversified Financial Services industry average. The net income increased by 30.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$1.08 million to -$0.75 million.

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AG Mortgage Investment

Dividend Yield: 12.50%

AG Mortgage Investment (NYSE: MITT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 12.50%.

AG Mortgage Investment Trust, Inc., a real estate investment trust, focuses on investing, acquiring, and managing a portfolio of residential mortgage assets, and other real estate-related securities and financial assets. The company has a P/E ratio of 3.71.

The average volume for AG Mortgage Investment has been 376,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. AG Mortgage Investment has a market cap of $702.5 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 8.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates AG Mortgage Investment as a sell. The area that we feel has been the company's primary weakness has been its feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • AG MORTGAGE INVESTMENT TRUST has improved earnings per share by 6.9% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, AG MORTGAGE INVESTMENT TRUST increased its bottom line by earning $7.34 versus $2.01 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 53.7% in earnings ($3.40 versus $7.34).
  • The gross profit margin for AG MORTGAGE INVESTMENT TRUST is currently very high, coming in at 89.80%. Regardless of MITT's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, MITT's net profit margin of 30.67% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • Investors have driven up the company's shares by 30.43% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the future course of this stock, we feel that the risks involved in investing in MITT do not compensate for any future upside potential, despite the fact that it has seen nice gains over the past 12 months.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income increased by 209.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $5.77 million to $17.85 million.

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.

Oi

Dividend Yield: 11.60%

Oi (NYSE: OIBR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.60%.

Oi S.A., through its subsidiaries, provides integrated telecommunication service for residential customers, companies, and governmental agencies in Brazil.

The average volume for Oi has been 3,334,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Oi has a market cap of $4.0 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are down 44.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Oi as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally high debt management risk, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 2.95 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with the unfavorable debt-to-equity ratio, OIBR maintains a poor quick ratio of 0.86, which illustrates the inability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • OIBR'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 60.37%, 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.
  • OI SA 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, OI SA reported lower earnings of $0.73 versus $0.92 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 74.1% in earnings ($0.19 versus $0.73).
  • 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 614.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $71.96 million to $514.40 million.

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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