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 (NYSE: FGP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.10%. 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 36.03. The average volume for Ferrellgas Partners has been 219,900 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 30.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. 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 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. 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 ($0.70 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 114.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $20.81 million to $44.68 million.
- Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, reflecting both the market's overall trend during that period and the fact that the company's earnings growth has been robust. We feel that the combination of its price rise over the last year and its current price-to-earnings ratio relative to its industry tend to reduce its upside potential.
- FGP, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 9.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 4.2%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
- The gross profit margin for FERRELLGAS PARTNERS -LP is rather low; currently it is at 19.20%. 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, the net profit margin of 7.40% trails the industry average.
- You can view the full Ferrellgas Partners Ratings Report.