3 Sell-Rated Dividend Stocks: VLCCF, AT, STB

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."

Knightsbridge Tankers

Dividend Yield: 9.40%

Knightsbridge Tankers (NASDAQ: VLCCF) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.40%.

Knightsbridge Tankers Limited, through its subsidiaries, engages in the seaborne transportation of crude oil and dry bulk cargoes worldwide. The company's customers include oil companies, tanker companies, dry bulk companies, petroleum products traders, government agencies, and other entities.

The average volume for Knightsbridge Tankers has been 238,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Knightsbridge Tankers has a market cap of $181.6 million and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are up 41.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Knightsbridge Tankers as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • KNIGHTSBRIDGE TANKERS LTD has exprienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. Earnings per share have declined over the last year. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, KNIGHTSBRIDGE TANKERS LTD reported lower earnings of $1.33 versus $2.12 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 94.7% in earnings ($0.07 versus $1.33).
  • 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 727.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $9.08 million to -$57.01 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, KNIGHTSBRIDGE TANKERS LTD's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 54.77%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 729.72% compared to the year-earlier 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.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 6.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 39.3%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.

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Atlantic Power Corporation

Dividend Yield: 7.20%

Atlantic Power Corporation (NYSE: AT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.20%.

Atlantic Power Corporation operates as a power generation and infrastructure company with a portfolio of assets in the United States and Canada.

The average volume for Atlantic Power Corporation has been 1,751,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Atlantic Power Corporation has a market cap of $651.8 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 52.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Atlantic Power Corporation as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 2.26 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.36, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • 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 Independent Power Producers & Energy Traders industry and the overall market, ATLANTIC POWER CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • AT'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 31.48%, 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.
  • ATLANTIC POWER CORP reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, ATLANTIC POWER CORP swung to a loss, reporting -$0.42 versus $0.01 in the prior year.
  • 38.90% is the gross profit margin for ATLANTIC POWER CORP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of AT's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, AT's net profit margin of -4.81% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.

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Student Transportation

Dividend Yield: 8.40%

Student Transportation (NASDAQ: STB) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.40%.

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 50.92.

The average volume for Student Transportation has been 87,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Student Transportation has a market cap of $536.2 million and is part of the diversified services industry. Shares are up 7.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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:
  • In its most recent trading session, STB 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. 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 8.03%.

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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