4 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks: IEP, LINE, NCT, VALE

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."

Icahn

Dividend Yield: 5.30%

Icahn (NASDAQ: IEP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.30%.

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 13.10.

The average volume for Icahn has been 206,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Icahn has a market cap of $8.3 billion and is part of the automotive industry. Shares are up 69.1% 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.

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

Linn Energy

Dividend Yield: 9.10%

Linn Energy (NASDAQ: LINE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.10%.

Linn Energy, LLC, an independent oil and natural gas company, engages in the acquisition and development of oil and natural gas properties.

The average volume for Linn Energy has been 1,924,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Linn Energy has a market cap of $8.0 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 3.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 10.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.2%. 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 significantly increased by 842.17% to $334.59 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, LINN ENERGY LLC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -25.50%.
  • 40.40% is the gross profit margin for LINN ENERGY LLC 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, LINE's net profit margin of -60.12% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 1.53 is quite high overall and when compared to the industry average, suggesting that the current management of debt levels should be re-evaluated. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.40, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • 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, LINN ENERGY LLC'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.

Newcastle Investment Corporation

Dividend Yield: 17.10%

Newcastle Investment Corporation (NYSE: NCT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 17.10%.

Newcastle Investment Corp. operates as a real estate investment and finance company in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 2.13.

The average volume for Newcastle Investment Corporation has been 10,497,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Newcastle Investment Corporation has a market cap of $1.3 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 41.7% 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, reasonable 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 83.8% in earnings ($0.46 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.

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

Vale

Dividend Yield: 4.90%

Vale (NYSE: VALE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.90%.

Vale S.A. engages in the research, production, and marketing of iron ore and pellets, nickel, fertilizers, copper, coal, manganese, ferroalloys, cobalt, platinum group metals, and precious metals in Brazil and internationally. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.11.

The average volume for Vale has been 18,879,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Vale has a market cap of $77.8 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 31.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Vale as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and attractive valuation levels. 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 feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • VALE's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 0.2%. 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 current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.42, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.32, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • The gross profit margin for VALE SA is rather high; currently it is at 56.60%. Regardless of VALE's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, VALE's net profit margin of 28.44% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • Reflecting the weaknesses we have cited, including the decline in the company's earnings per share, VALE has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 18.07% from its price level of one year ago. 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.
  • 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 Metals & Mining industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, VALE SA has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of 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.

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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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