3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks: NLY, FE, CBL

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

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."

Annaly Capital Management

Dividend Yield: 13.40%

Annaly Capital Management (NYSE: NLY) shares currently have a dividend yield of 13.40%.

Annaly Capital Management, Inc. owns, manages, and finances a portfolio of real estate related investments in United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 3.48.

The average volume for Annaly Capital Management has been 13,521,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Annaly Capital Management has a market cap of $11.3 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 14.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Annaly Capital Management as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, notable return on equity and attractive valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the stock has had a generally disappointing performance in the past year.

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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income increased by 1897.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$91.16 million to $1,638.21 million.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, ANNALY CAPITAL MANAGEMENT's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for ANNALY CAPITAL MANAGEMENT is currently very high, coming in at 93.06%. Regardless of NLY's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, NLY's net profit margin of 174.57% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • ANNALY CAPITAL MANAGEMENT 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. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ANNALY CAPITAL MANAGEMENT increased its bottom line by earning $1.69 versus $0.49 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 13.9% in earnings ($1.46 versus $1.69).
  • NLY'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 27.21%, 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.

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

FirstEnergy

Dividend Yield: 5.90%

FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.90%.

FirstEnergy Corp., a diversified energy holding company, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in the United States. The company operates in Regulated Distribution, Regulated Transmission, and Competitive Energy Services segments. The company has a P/E ratio of 50.46.

The average volume for FirstEnergy has been 3,561,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. FirstEnergy has a market cap of $15.6 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 10.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates FirstEnergy as a hold. The company's strongest point has been its expanding profit margins. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, generally higher debt management risk and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • FE, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 16.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 9.3%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • FIRSTENERGY 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. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, FIRSTENERGY CORP reported lower earnings of $1.84 versus $2.13 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.00 versus $1.84).
  • The gross profit margin for FIRSTENERGY CORP is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 27.42%. Regardless of FE's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, FE's net profit margin of -4.66% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 1.61 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 0.26, 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 Electric Utilities industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, FIRSTENERGY CORP underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than 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.

CBL & Associates Properties

Dividend Yield: 4.30%

CBL & Associates Properties (NYSE: CBL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.30%.

CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. is a public real estate investment trust. It engages in acquisition, development, and management of properties. The fund invests in the real estate markets of United States. Its portfolio consists of enclosed malls and open-air centers. The company has a P/E ratio of 46.65.

The average volume for CBL & Associates Properties has been 1,637,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. CBL & Associates Properties has a market cap of $3.6 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 1.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates CBL & Associates Properties as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that net income has been generally deteriorating over time.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 9.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.7%. 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.
  • 38.88% is the gross profit margin for CBL & ASSOCIATES PPTYS INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, CBL's net profit margin of 4.41% significantly trails the industry average.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. 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 return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, CBL & ASSOCIATES PPTYS INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • 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 60.1% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $29.39 million to $11.72 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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