4 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks: NRGY, IEP, NCT, MFA

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."

Inergy L.P

Dividend Yield: 4.80%

Inergy L.P (NYSE: NRGY) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.80%.

Inergy, L.P., an integrated energy midstream master limited partnership, engages in the storage and transportation of natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) in the United States and Canada. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.17.

The average volume for Inergy L.P has been 478,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Inergy L.P has a market cap of $3.2 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 34.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Inergy L.P as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid stock price performance. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, poor profit margins and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, NRGY's share price has jumped by 36.36%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Regarding the stock's future course, our hold rating indicates that we do not recommend additional investment in this stock despite its gains in the past year.
  • NRGY, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 8.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 32.0%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • INERGY LP 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. 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, INERGY LP increased its bottom line by earning $4.21 versus $0.28 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 97.1% in earnings ($0.12 versus $4.21).
  • 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 114.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $40.70 million to -$5.80 million.
  • The gross profit margin for INERGY LP is rather low; currently it is at 18.60%. It has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -1.28% is significantly below that of the industry average.

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Icahn

Dividend Yield: 4.70%

Icahn (NASDAQ: IEP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.70%.

Icahn Enterprises L.P. engages in the investment, automotive, gaming, railcar, food packaging, metals, real estate, and home fashion businesses in the United States and internationally. Its Investment segment provides investment advisory, and administrative and back office services. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.75.

The average volume for Icahn has been 224,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Icahn has a market cap of $9.3 billion and is part of the automotive industry. Shares are up 90.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Icahn as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and solid stock price performance. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk, weak operating cash flow and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • IEP's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 0.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 89.5%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 273.79% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 33.62% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, our hold rating indicates that we do not recommend additional investment in this stock despite its gains in the past year.
  • ICAHN ENTERPRISES LP reported significant earnings per share improvement 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. During the past fiscal year, ICAHN ENTERPRISES LP increased its bottom line by earning $8.07 versus $2.14 in the prior year.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$39.00 million or 108.12% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 1.83 is quite high overall and when compared to the industry average, suggesting that the current management of debt levels should be re-evaluated.

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Newcastle Investment Corporation

Dividend Yield: 15.40%

Newcastle Investment Corporation (NYSE: NCT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 15.40%.

Newcastle Investment Corp. operates as a real estate investment and finance company in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 2.37.

The average volume for Newcastle Investment Corporation has been 11,082,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Newcastle Investment Corporation has a market cap of $1.4 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 31.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Newcastle Investment Corporation as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, unimpressive growth in net income and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 12.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.3%. 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.
  • The gross profit margin for NEWCASTLE INVESTMENT CORP is rather high; currently it is at 68.20%. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, NCT's net profit margin of 41.20% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • NEWCASTLE INVESTMENT CORP 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 two years. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, NEWCASTLE INVESTMENT CORP reported lower earnings of $2.85 versus $3.49 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 61.9% in earnings ($1.09 versus $2.85).
  • 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 48.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $73.47 million to $38.01 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.

MFA Financial

Dividend Yield: 9.50%

MFA Financial (NYSE: MFA) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.50%.

MFA Financial, Inc., a real estate investment trust (REIT), invests in residential agency and non-agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS). The company has a P/E ratio of 11.47.

The average volume for MFA Financial has been 3,375,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. MFA Financial has a market cap of $3.4 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 16.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates MFA Financial as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The gross profit margin for MFA FINANCIAL INC is currently very high, coming in at 93.20%. Regardless of MFA's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, MFA's net profit margin of 62.19% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. 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 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, MFA FINANCIAL INC has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $71.17 million or 10.96% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow of 10.96%, MFA FINANCIAL INC is in line with the industry average cash flow growth rate of -20.78%.

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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