3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks: FGP, NTRI, MEMP

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 "Hold."

Ferrellgas Partners

Dividend Yield: 9.50%

Ferrellgas Partners (NYSE: FGP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.50%.

Ferrellgas Partners, L.P. engages in the distribution and sale of propane, and related equipment and supplies primarily in the United States. It transports propane to propane distribution locations, tanks on customers' premises, or to portable propane tanks delivered to retailers. The company has a P/E ratio of 66.00.

The average volume for Ferrellgas Partners has been 240,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Ferrellgas Partners has a market cap of $1.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 25.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ferrellgas Partners as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's profit margins have been poor overall.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • FERRELLGAS PARTNERS -LP has improved earnings per share by 48.9% 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. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, FERRELLGAS PARTNERS -LP continued to lose money by earning -$0.14 versus -$0.58 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.60 versus -$0.14).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Gas Utilities industry. The net income increased by 60.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $36.37 million to $58.21 million.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 9.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 20.5%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 48.93% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 33.90% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Looking ahead, however, we cannot assume that the stock's past performance is going to drive future results. Quite to the contrary, its sharp appreciation over the last year is one of the factors that should prompt investors to seek better opportunities elsewhere.
  • The gross profit margin for FERRELLGAS PARTNERS -LP is rather low; currently it is at 19.60%. Regardless of FGP's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, FGP's net profit margin of 8.83% compares favorably to the industry average.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

NutriSystem

Dividend Yield: 7.90%

NutriSystem (NASDAQ: NTRI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.90%.

Nutrisystem, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides weight management products and services in the United States. The company offers nutritionally balanced weight loss programs designed for women, men, and seniors. The company has a P/E ratio of 221.75.

The average volume for NutriSystem has been 272,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. NutriSystem has a market cap of $253.9 million and is part of the diversified services industry. Shares are up 8.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates NutriSystem as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, good cash flow from operations 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 disappointing return on equity.

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 Internet & Catalog Retail industry. The net income increased by 85.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$4.48 million to -$0.64 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $22.40 million or 48.60% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, NUTRISYSTEM INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -14.41%.
  • NTRI 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. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.87 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • NTRI has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 17.17% from its price level of one year ago. 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.
  • 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 Internet & Catalog Retail industry and the overall market, NUTRISYSTEM INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

Memorial Production Partners

Dividend Yield: 10.60%

Memorial Production Partners (NASDAQ: MEMP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.60%.

Memorial Production Partners LP, through its subsidiary, Memorial Production Operating LLC, engages in the acquisition, development, exploitation, and production of oil and natural gas properties.

The average volume for Memorial Production Partners has been 508,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Memorial Production Partners has a market cap of $748.1 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 8.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Memorial Production Partners as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in stock price during the past year, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, generally higher debt management risk and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Compared to its price level of one year ago, MEMP is up 6.23% to its most recent closing price of 19.76. Looking ahead, our view is that this company's fundamentals should not have much impact in either direction, allowing the stock to generally move up or down based on the push and pull of the broad market.
  • The gross profit margin for MEMORIAL PRODUCTION PRTRS LP is rather high; currently it is at 61.60%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 21.19% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • MEMP, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 1.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 4.3%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.15 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Regardless of the company's weak debt-to-equity ratio, MEMP has managed to keep a strong quick ratio of 1.63, which demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • 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 74.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $117.77 million to $29.81 million.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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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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